Justice Anthony Kennedy will likely go down in history as the biggest judicial friend the gay-rights movement has ever known, court watchers say.
He’s the author of three of the Supreme Court’s most influential opinions on the topic, including a decision that overturned the ban on federal benefits for gay couples who were married. And the gay community is thankful. The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus honored Mr. Kennedy with a rendition of “Give ‘Em Hope” at a recent American Bar Association meeting in the city, The New York Times reported.
Meanwhile, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, at this same event, expressed his gratitude to the justice for “upholding the Constitution and justice for all” in his opinions on the court that favored the gay rights cause.
Mr. Kennedy, for his part, signaled that he would continue this pro-gay fight at the court level.
“Freedom is always a work in progress,” he said, at the event, The Times reported.
His work on the Supreme Court for the gay-rights cause is somewhat of a surprise to those who know his background. Mr. Kennedy was nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. At the time, he had few friends in the gay crowd, due largely to his federal appeals rulings on five cases that went against the gay-rights claim, The Times said.
But now? He’s a heralded champion for the cause and is set to go down in history as the most important judicial figure in the gay-rights movement.
“He is the towering giant in the jurisprudence of freedom and equality for gay people,” said Evan Wolfson, the president of Freedom to Marry, in The Times report.
Meanwhile, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is emerging as a friend of the cause, too. Over the weekend, she became the first member of the Supreme Court to officiate at a same-sex wedding.