First US Supreme Court Justice officiates at same-sex wedding

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday became the first Supreme Court justice to officiate at the wedding of a gay couple.

The private wedding between the Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser and the economist John Roberts took place at the Washington DC Performing Arts Center.

“I think it will be one more statement that people who love each other and want to live together should be able to enjoy the blessings and the strife in the marriage relationship,” Mrs Ginsburg said prior to the ceremony.

She added: “It won’t be long before there will be another” ceremony performed by a justice. She has already agreed to conduct a second wedding next month.

“I can’t imagine someone I’d rather be married by”, Mr Kaiser said.

In June, the court ruled ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage as between one man and one woman was unconstitutional, paving the way for over 1,100 benefits, previously not afforded to same-sex couples.

The clear-cut ruling was made on the case of United States v Windsor.

The opinion read: “DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty.” It also overturned California’s Prop 8 ban on gay couples marrying.

Off the back of the ruling, the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), last week announced that same-sex couples who are legally married will now be recognised for federal tax purposes, irrespective of their home state’s legal position on equal marriage.

Last week a study found that two-thirds of US employers are in need of clarification and guidance on the impact of the DOMA ruling.

The largest retailer in the US, Walmart, this week announced that it is to offer health insurance benefits to same-sex domestic partners, as well as opposite-sex domestic partners beginning next year. Its intention is to have a consistent policy for all employees.