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Gay couple who were married by Ruth Bader Ginsburg praise the ‘inspirational’ Supreme Court justice following her death

Patrick Kelleher September 21, 2020
Ruth Bader Ginsburg marries gay couple

Ruth Bader Ginsburg officiated at the wedding ceremony of Ralph Pellecchio and Dr James Carter Wernz (Ralp Pellecchio Facebook)

A gay couple who were married by Ruth Bader Ginsburg have praised the late Supreme Court justice as a “brilliant, inspirational” advocate for equality.

Ginsburg died at the age of 87 on Saturday (19 September) after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

She attracted fury from conservatives by performing several same-sex weddings before the Supreme Court’s momentous 2015 ruling, which paved the way for equal marriage across the United States.

Ginsburg officiated at numerous same-sex weddings during her lifetime, and in 2013, she married same-sex couple Ralph Pellecchio and James Carter Wernz.

The couple were shocked with Ruth Bader Ginsburg agreed to officiate at their wedding.

The couple, from Manhattan, New York City, had spent 30 years together before they tied the knot. They went on to become the first same-sex couple married at the Supreme Court – and were lucky enough to have Ginsburg perform the ceremony.

“I grew up in a very small town in Eastern Washington State with 365 people, very closeted when I was younger, of course,” Wernz told Spectrum News.

“And to realise, there I was with my family in the Chambers of the United States Supreme Court in front of justice Ginsburg, it was overwhelming,” he said.

“It was one of the most significant points of my life.”

The Supreme Court justice helped the men write their wedding vows.

Pellecchio, a former student of Ginsburg’s, first met her in 1975 when she taught him at the Columbia Law School.

“She was brilliant, inspirational in terms of her teaching of the law and also the most wonderfully warm human being,” he said.

“It was one of the best experiences I had in law school.”

Pellecchio kept in touch with Ginsburg after leaving law school and even wrote her a letter of congratulations when she was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2013.

When he and Wernz decided to get married, he wrote to Ginsburg again to see if she would consider officiating at their ceremony. The Supreme Court justice replied within days and agreed to help make their big day one to remember.

She even helped the men write their wedding vows, with Pellecchio sending her drafts, which she would provide edits on.

Pellecchio last spoke to Ginsburg in 2018, and said he hopes people will remember that she was also a caring and warm person as well as being a staunch and tireless advocate for equality.

 

 

 

More: App Featured, James Carter Wernz, Ralph Pellecchio, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, same sex marriage, supreme court

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