Chief Justice Roberts' lesbian cousin to attend same-sex marriage hearings
March 25th, 2013
12:24 PM ET
2 years ago

Chief Justice Roberts' lesbian cousin to attend same-sex marriage hearings

(CNN) - Jean Podrasky, a lesbian whose cousin happens to be Chief Justice John Roberts, will attend this week's Supreme Court oral arguments on two cases dealing with same-sex marriage, CNN confirmed Monday.

In an op-ed emailed to members of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Podrasky expressed optimism that her first cousin, a conservative, will rule in favor of her–and countless others'–desire to marry.

"I know that my cousin is a good man," she wrote. "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."

Podrasky, who lives in San Francisco, wants to marry her partner of four years, Grace Fasano. The high court will hear challenges to Proposition 8, the voter-approved same-sex marriage ban in California, and to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 congressional law that says for federal purposes, marriage is defined as only between one man and one woman.

Podrasky actively campaigned against Proposition 8 during its tumultuous ride through California courts.

Podrasky is an accountant and the first cousin of Roberts on his mother's side. She told the Los Angeles Times last week that she hopes Roberts will get to meet her partner during her trip to Washington.

"I believe he sees where the tide is going," she said. "I do trust him. I absolutely trust that he will go in a good direction."

While Podrasky said she only sees Roberts on family occasions, she was invited to attend his Senate confirmation hearing in 2005, when he was nominated to the Supreme Court by then-President George W. Bush.

She was able to get her spot for this week's hearings by emailing Roberts' sister, then going through his secretary to get seats for her partner, her sister and her niece, according to the Times. The chief justice is aware that Podrasky will be in attendance.

"I believe he understands that ruling in favor of equality will not be out of step with where the majority of Americans now sit," she wrote Monday in the NCLR op-ed. "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."

WATCH: Podrasky will be on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" Tuesday night starting at 8 p.m. ET.


Filed under: John Roberts • Same-sex marriage • Supreme Court
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Fred

    I would like to submit what may be considered to be an interesting observation.

    In view of all the plentiful rhetoric regarding this apparent anathema of gay marriage, profusely sprinkled with numerous inferences of religious bigotry and such, I wonder if there could be a ultimately determinable superficial element to all this debate.

    Pursuant to that thought, I pose the following scenario ...

    (In order to deflect any irrelevant criticism of the following order of sexual presentation, I flipped a coin to make that determination. The ladies won.)

    Suppose, all of a sudden, that every single female Homo Sapien on earth chose to pair with another Homo Sapien of the like sex.

    Further, all of a sudden, that every single male Homo Sapien on earth chose to pair with another Homo Sapien of the like sex.

    And, finally, that all existing or forthcoming Homo Sapien children on earth, in due time and upon their reaching an appropriate age, then chose to follow suit as did their elders.

    Now, to the best of my limited knowledge, the species known as Homo Sapien is not hermaphroditic.

    Therefore, the logical question would be ...

    What is likely to happen to the species known as Homo Sapien?

    I leave it to you to ponder the possible answers.

    March 25, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "If you cant create a family together, in my mind, it is not marriage."

    So sterile men and barren women can't marry now either?

    Giant freekin clue: "marriage" being narrowly defined as only between a man and a woman was not something this country was "founded" upon. It was merely the societal mores of the times, just like slavery. Funny enough, racism made its way into the Constitution and required correction, but your narrow, myopic definition of marriage and the bigotry it is based on was not put in the Constitution in any form whatsoever. That's super great evidence that the country was "founded" on it tho, eh?

    March 25, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. freedom

    @Sid Airfoil @The Other Bob

    ACA? Do you know there is nothing Affordable about it?

    Obama, his cabinet, supreme court justices, elected officials have speical insurance coverage privileges. They will not be subject to the Obamacare mandates – and should be!

    A public announcement by a relative of a justice could lead to bias. That's the point.

    March 25, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I would go as far as to say, Rudy, that love, at least in Senator Portman's case, does conquer all...prejudices and misconceptions. IMHO.

    March 25, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. Yes!

    It's time for everyone to wake up and realize we don't know everything.....and it's not our business to judge. If gays want to marry, let them. It doesn't affect my hetero relationship at all....and it certainly doesn't impact how I feel about my faith and religion.

    March 25, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  6. James Bond

    Why not just get rid of all laws regarding marrige? marry your sister, marry five times, where do we draw the line, and why is someone always trying to move it? how do you know your doing something wrong, when you are physically unable to reproduce with sucess. why is that so hard to understand, we are not Asexual

    March 25, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Donna wrote:

    Marriage was a religious sacriment long before it was anything else. And yes, our government wa sbased on many religious tenants and I know that irks you lefties to no end. But it is FACT. FACT you wish to re-write history on, like you try to do with everything else, to suit your goldless political agenda.
    -----------------
    Play hooky from your Bible class, and go attend a Civics class on the US Constitution. It's in the 1st Amendment. That whole "In God We Trust" thing isn't law either. It's something the right wing came up with to usurp, 'e pluribus unum".

    March 25, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. James Bond

    Eliminate sll marriage restrictions, multiple wives, marry your sister, ssshhhooowwweeee!!!. get a grip, if you cant reproduce sucessfully, heres your sign.

    March 25, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  9. zeke

    "And yes, our government wa sbased on many religious tenants"

    Name one.

    March 25, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. s

    I'm still waiting to hear any real reason why the government needs to be involved in marriage at all.

    March 25, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  11. An outsider

    Argument outside the Bible: if every woman marries a woman and limits her sexual life to that, if every man marries a man and limits his sexual life to that, with no artificial interfering of opposite genders' procreative substances, in circa 100 years the human race would disappear. This is from biology, not from the Bible. Interesting is that less and less persons of opposite gender want to marry, and more and more persons of the same gender want to marry. Forbid something and it will become very popular, just because of the ban! This is a very interesting human trait!

    March 25, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. James Bond

    Civil union with equal rights, done

    March 25, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. James Bond

    Abomination in the old testament, buta union to be cherished in the new? twist and turn, til it fits your cause, our constitution is becoming jello

    March 25, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    Please proceed, bigots. You guys need more shovels or should we just leave you be to continue your digging alone?

    "Marriage was a religious sacriment long before it was anything else."

    You want it defined in religious terms only? Fine. Then the marriage deduction, spousal inheritence rights and a whole host of other things you take for granted all have no place whatsoever in our laws. NONE. Now, start paying
    your full taxes without the deduction and please don't go thinking that you're going to be able to visit your spouse at the hospital or make decisions about their care if they are incapacitated...that will probably have to fall to the state now and your spouse will be a ward of the state upon incapacity. Nullification of the will if your spouse leaves you NOTHING? Nope...courts no longer have any business dealing with your religious marriage issues. Alimony/spousal support? Nope...courts can't go there either. Divorce? Nope...have fun trying to get an annulment but don't clog our courts with your silly domestic disputes. Pre-nups? Nope...not enforceable. The list goes on and on....but hey, you want to insist it's all defined by religion, that's what you'll get.

    March 25, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. An outsider

    Yes, I gave an argument which is not from the Bible, but it was ignored. An outsider

    March 25, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  16. John

    Mariiage is not about children, These days there are as many kids in single parent households than in two parent households. Allowing gay marriage will only strengthen marriage. We all know gay couples together for 10,20,30,40 or 50 years. It's about time this country put it's money where it's mounth his and truly had liberty and justice for ALL!

    March 25, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. brian

    GUEST: There are plenty of gay couples with a civil union who have adopted children together. Is that not creating a family? Being narrow minded isn't in the constitution either.

    March 25, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  18. RvG

    Well said Rudy NYC!
    These debates are getting ridiculous...keep religion out of the debate and let this pass please. It's been going on for way too long now. More pressing issues are at hand.

    March 25, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. DeeBee

    Donna

    Rudy NYC
    I am still waiting to hear an argument against same sex marriage that is not grounded in religious beliefs.
    ===========

    Marriage was a religious sacriment long before it was anything else. And yes, our government wa sbased on many religious tenants and I know that irks you lefties to no end. But it is FACT. FACT you wish to re-write history on, like you try to do with everything else, to suit your goldless political agenda.

    ________________________________________________________

    Marriage predates recorded history. How do you know that it was originally a religious institution? And even if it is, whose religion? Even if we go by the Bible, does that mean I can have multiple wives and concubines and own them as property? Stop being upset if someone is trying to rewrite your rewritten history.

    March 25, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. muchthunder..little rain

    so she shows up...what does that have to do with anything...

    March 25, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. Ramo

    So she wants him to make the right decision. Well it shouldnt he "his" decision. It should be the decision of The Constitution. If he feels that it isnt allowed under it then he needs to vote on that, this has nothing to do with his opinions of his cousin. If anything he should recuse himself from the debate then if he cant follow the law and look at The constitutionality of the case and not person perferences due to a cousin. It also has nothing to do with public sentiment either there Jean.

    March 25, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. Susan StoHelit

    If you can't look in the face of the people your decision affects, then you likely are making the wrong decision. If he's making the right choice, her being there shouldn't make any difference. If he's like some however, who can have no empathy other than when it affects themselves and those they know – then it could make a difference – but in that case it'd be a good thing.

    March 25, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. Pete

    O boy another skeleton coming out of the sanctumonious republicans closets when will it end..Now that chief justice Roberts has laid his marbles on the table,are you for or really against same sex unions or marriages and their inherient policies that go with them like a common health,life insurance policies.Or letting their spouse the same rights to make decisions in hospitals as heterosexual couples have in signing for operations or maybe DNRs that require a spouse sometimes to sign when their significant other is comatosed or seriously injured ..These and many other questions have to be answered by republicans because its not a one signature does all compremise and you republicans now pinned in a corner again better do something quick because midterms I keep reminding you is right around the corner isn't it boys!!And while you're at it ask Michelle Bachmanns old man what he thinks about it because it'll hurt his little federal assisted clinics won't it reversing gays to straights,boy I just love this country!!

    March 25, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. gary

    As more and more come to their senses, gay mariage will be accepted. Forget the ancient myths and folklore taboos of religion.

    March 25, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  25. Wannetta

    Donna:Marriage was a religious sacriment long before it was anything else. And yes, our government wa sbased on many religious tenants and I know that irks you lefties to no end. But it is FACT. FACT you wish to re-write history on, like you try to do with everything else, to suit your goldless political agenda.
    Were you aware that the very first religious marriage were done for gay couples? They were done to insure that lines of heredity were clear. Property is for some odd reason very important to the church. lol Reference Professor John Boswell the youngest full professor of history at Yale University. Read his book Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century. Facts are indeed facts. :-)

    March 25, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
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