Jean Podrasky will be attending the upcoming Supreme Court oral arguments regarding same-sex marriage, and in some ways, Podrasky could be a bit of a trump card for the opponents of marriage inequality. Podrasky is not only openly lesbian, but she is the first cousin of the man who presides over both Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.
Her first cousin is Chief Justice John Roberts.
One of the bits of truth that hangs around these days is that those who know someone who is openly lesbian or gay is less likely to be anti-gay than they are to be pro-gay. While this does not hold true in all cases, it does hold true in many. For instance, recently arch-Conservative Senator Robert Porter announced his support for marriage equality after his son came out of the closet.
The fact that Roberts has a lesbian cousin increases the likelihood that he will be sympathetic to the LGBT Community, or at the very least means that he will see beyond the standard anti-gay rhetoric in order to see what the reality is.
Here is Podrasky’s letter as released by the National Center for Lesbian Rights:
Everyone in this country has a family member who is part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. And that includes Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
You see, I am his first cousin. And I’m a lesbian.
For me, this family relationship is especially relevant now. Tomorrow, my cousin, the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, will begin considering the fate of two of the most important cases impacting the rights of the LGBT community ever to go before the Court—the challenges to California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
As a Californian, I want nothing more than to marry my wonderful girlfriend. And as a tax-paying citizen, I seek basic fairness. In over 1,000 ways, the government penalizes our relationship because it is not recognized under federal law. There are obviously many more reasons I want to get married, but there’s nothing more important to me than being legally recognized as married to the person I love—just like heterosexual couples.
Ohio Senator Rob Portman’s recent “change of heart” got me thinking a little more about family relationships and the impact that living your life proudly, and honestly, may have on those who have yet to become allies.
Since Senator Portman’s son came out, the senator has shifted his beliefs, writing in an OpEd that he has “come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married.”
He also wrote in that piece that “the process of citizens persuading fellow citizens is how consensus is built and enduring change is forged.” That’s how people—and family members—evolve. That’s how our family, neighbors, and co-workers become allies.
I know that my cousin is a good man. I feel confident that John is wise enough to see that society is becoming more accepting of the humanity of same-sex couples and the simple truth that we deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, and equality under the law. I believe he understands that ruling in favor of equality will not be out of step with where the majority of Americans now sit. I am hoping that the other justices (at least most of them) will share this view, because I am certain that I am not the only relative that will be directly affected by their rulings.