With the recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, it is the perfect time to reflect on this amazing woman’s life and all the good she did for the people, especially women and the LGBTQ+ community. The ‘Notorious RBG’ is mostly known for being a fervent advocate for women’s rights. She played critical roles in passing several rulings to increase the standard of life for women in the United States, such as: state funded schools must admit women, employers cannot discriminate against employees based on gender or reproductive choices and more! While Ruth Bader Ginsberg is most famously known for these wins for women, she also championed rights for the LGBTQ+ community.
At age 82 in the year 2015, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was strikingly loud while voicing her opinion to male counterparts on the landmark case of legalizing gay marriage. That day in court she held her position firmly, cutting through the opposition’s arguments to the point that they were struggling to continue. John Bursch, the lawyer that argued for the states seeking to uphold the ban on same-sex marriage, tried to validate the point that gay couples could not procreate, therfore they should not be allowed to legally marry, as that was the primary goal of traditional marriage. RBG shutdown this remark by illuminating a similar situation with the elderly wanting to wed. She says, “Suppose a couple, 70-year-old couple, comes in and they want to get married?” This point then sparked conversation in the courtroom over if one should ask couples if they plan to have children before they are allowed to properly wed. Ginsburg swooped in for the kill with the strong statement of, “You don’t have to ask them any questions. You know they are not going to have any children.”, which dismantled Bursch’s regressive point and quited the room.
Other arguments brought to the table were centered around the idea of taking away from heterosexual couples and the difficulity of overturning marital traditions. Justices John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy weren’t sure if the courts had the power to overturn the deeply rooted martial traditions of the American people.
In response to her fellow justices, RBG says, “Marriage today is not what it was under the common law tradition, under the civil law tradition,” and that we should not cling to marriage as it once was. In the end, RBG held steadfast in her beliefs and was ruthless in the courtroom, shutting down her opponents with counter arguments that left even Chief Justice Roberts sympathetic.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg came to the table that day in 2015 ready for a fight, a fight that was for all of the LGBTQ+ community. The now landmark case, passed with a 5-4 vote ruling in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states. A little 82 year old woman helped change the lives of so many that had felt forgotten by the U.S. justice system in one day of outspokenness. The Notorious RBG lives up to her name and will forever be remembered by the people she bravely fought for over the years.