Chief Justice Roberts' lesbian cousin to attend same-sex marriage hearings
March 25th, 2013
12:24 PM ET
9 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.

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"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. spazzo

    " who this broad, I don't know her"

    John Roberts

    March 25, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. ST

    @ freedom
    I do think you are not free from the way you think. Chief Justice Roberts doesn't and I repeat doesn't make his judgement without collecting the facts first, think about it and come up with findings basing on facts. He doesn't judge because one of his family member believe on something. His work is not carried that way. I would like to ask you to free yourself from the very tiny of thinking and expand your thinking to a very large/expanded way.

    March 25, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC


    @Rudy NYC – The argument isn't necessarily against gay marriage. The argument is about traditional marriage, one man and one woman.
    You are still arguing for the Christian perspective. There are other cultures in the world where sexual orientation is defined very differently from the "traditional" christianity based, western point of view. The US constitution defines a secular state, not a christianity-based theocracy. You cannot ban sharia law without also banning your own version of it.

    March 25, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. freedom

    @JT in SD

    Obama has deliberately set a course for the entire country to be on a slippery slope – look at the big picture!

    March 25, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Sacrament, please people. SACRAMENT.

    March 25, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. was blind but now I see

    The end of this present age is cleary near. Even at the very door....

    March 25, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. HDD3

    It is ridiculous to assume being gay is normal because people are born that way if you will not consider people who are born with other types of issues as normal. Some people are born bi-polar, autistic, with a propensity for addition, etc. Pharmaceutical companies make millions on drugs to treat these conditions and no one disagrees these type of conditions are abnormal.
    I learned about homosexuality from the perspective of what two men do sexually. When my daughter was in kindergarten, the teachers presented this subject from the perspective of two people in “Love”. When I took issue with this and said teach what they do, the teachers rejected my suggestion. Why is that? If it is normal then what is the problem? If we teach kids not to stick foreign objects in their ears and noses, then why is it not ok to teach them the correct biological use of a butt hole? Forget the bible. Nature all by itself is the witness that homosexual acts pervert the natural use of the body. Moreover, we teach kids to wash hands after going to the rest room. Yet people will put their mouths on areas of the body where the nastiest stuff is excreted. I am not saying laws should be in place to stop people who choose to do such things. What I object to is characterizing everyone who rejects these acts as religious zealots, homophobic, etc.

    March 25, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. Sheepleherder

    Is she the first gay person to ever enter the courtroom? What else would make this "news"?

    March 25, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    An outsider wrote:

    Yes, I gave an argument which is not from the Bible, but it was ignored. An outsider
    It was unworthy of a response. It was a typcial right wing doomsday scenario.

    March 25, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. Phil

    Have you ever read the constitution thoroughly and completely? To say that the entire answer is in the Constitution betrays an ignorance of its contents. It is purposely vague in order to allow for the priciples to be applied to changing circumstances. It must be interpreted by PEOPLE with all of their opinions and understanding of the world they live in, not the world of Washington and Jefferson. The framers knew what they were doing- they wanted the Constitution to be a flexible document outlining certain broad principles, not a cookbook to cover every situation. If you want stability, go to an Islamic Republic- they have not changed opinions or outlooks in almost a thousand years.

    March 25, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. Sniffit

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

    I leave it to you to ponder the possible answers."

    LOL. Your slippery slope is a 100% absurdity. "oooooh, booga booga booga, if we let's them gay peoplez marree then it will slowly give everyone teh gay and the speesheez will die off....we will cease to be!" There's is but one thing to say to such a "thought experiment," and that is LOL...LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL....*deep breath*....BWAHAHAHAHALOLOLOLOLOLOLLERSKATES.

    Teh gay has existed since the beginning of time and will continue to do so whether you like it or not, and it hasn't resulted in the end of the species, and won't...same with teh strayt. One won't be "taking over" or "overpowering" the other anytime soon, so don't worry your empty little heads about gay marriage somehow starting humanity down the path of extinction. We started THAT with nukes and the combustion engine.

    March 25, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  12. freedom


    I used to think that way about Justice Roberts until he voted the way he did on Obamacare. I don't trust his judgement anymore. Padon the pun.

    March 25, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. Dave

    So, you mention ONE person that is lesbian but you do not mention the tens of people that are straight and also attend. THIS IS A CLEAR CASE OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST STRAIGHT PEOPLE...

    March 25, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. An outsider

    Adopting children? Beautiful! Then, heterosexual couples, go on procreating, for the others to have where from to adopt!

    March 25, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "Civil union with equal rights, done"

    Yeah yeah, you want us to Jim Crow the whole thing. All public establishments should have 4 kinds of bathrooms and we should make sure there are clearly designatted straight and gay drinking fountains too, right?

    March 25, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  16. Conflictofinterest

    This is so wrong, a total loss of legitimacy by SCOTUS.

    March 25, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  17. ALittleBird

    You know, it really doesn't matter whether the majority of Americans are in step to favor same-sex marriage or not. The Supreme Court's job is decide what is constitutional an what is not. My opinion only: I think proposition 8 could go either way. I think scotus may decide that a state can pass it's own laws related to same-sex marriage, or may rule against it prop 8 specifically because of equal protection. But I don't see how they could possibly rule against the states where same-sex marriage has already been made legal. There is nothing unconstitutional about allowing two people who love each other getting married, even if they are same sex.
    In other words, I think there is a strong possibility that the court will rule states are allowed to make their own laws on the matter period, whether for or against. If they do rule against prop 8, that probably won't affect where it's already legal.

    March 25, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  18. KLB

    I agree that all homosexuals should be treated with dignity and respect. As human beings and images of God we all should be treated with respect, care and love. But, homosexuals should not be given the same rights as heterosexuals when it comes to marriage. Like it or not, God never intended for same sex people to marry. The intention of God was that man and woman should be united. (See Genesis 2)
    I know some people will not like hearing this, but the truth is the truth.

    March 25, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. Ray in L.A.

    I think Ms. Podrasky is most probably correct and that the court will rule 6-3 in favor of granting the right to a civil marriage to gay couples. However, I don't think it was wise of her to publicly put forward an assertion about how Justice Roberts will rule on these specific cases. She may have a good reason for believing what she believes and she may be 100% confident that she is right, but her statements on the matter go beyond the relevant legal grounds for the expansion of gay rights. The Court and the gay rights movement would have been better served if she provided this insight after the decisions were handed down.

    March 25, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. Pinewalker

    Supreme Court Justices need to have term limits. No matter what your ideology, this establishment is inherent to personal beliefs rather than just simply interpreting the law. To have someone in for a lifetime does not allow for a change in the seats of the court in alignment with the will of the current citizens of this country. I am conservative but I don't agree with all the conservative judges advocate for or against.

    March 25, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  21. CosmicC

    Does she want him to have to recuse himself?

    March 25, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  22. RMarkB

    Since when were Supreme Court decisions supposed to be made according to prevailing public opinion? Thankfully Roberts is smarter than his cousin.

    March 25, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  23. palintwit

    I was rather hoping Sarah Palin would weigh in on this one. Her insight and common sense solutions are tough to beat.

    March 25, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  24. Bruce

    In time all will be free to marry whom they wish too, whatever the outcome Supreme Court.

    March 25, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. Mike S

    "Sacrament" – LOL, I think you lost that argument went divorce hit a 50% rate.

    March 25, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
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