By Maura Dolan
10:13 p.m. CDT, March 24, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO--Jean Podrasky, 48, a lesbian who wants to marry her partner, will be at Tuesday’s U.S. Supreme Court hearing on Proposition 8 in seating reserved for family members and guests of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
“I am so excited,” said Podrasky, an accountant and the first cousin of the chief justice on his mother’s side. “I feel quite honored and overwhelmed.”
Roberts is a conservative appointed by President George W. Bush in 2005. Podrasky, who is more liberal, said she rooted for his nomination to be approved by the U.S. Senate. “He is family,” she said.
Podrasky lives in San Francisco and usually sees Roberts only on family occasions. His mother is her godmother, whom she adores. She said Roberts knows she is gay and introduced her along with other relatives during his Senate confirmation hearing. She hopes he will meet her partner of four years, Grace Fasano, during their Washington visit. The couple flew to Washington on Sunday.
“He is a smart man,” she said. “He is a good man. I believe he sees where the tide is going. I do trust him. I absolutely trust that he will go in a good direction.”
Podrasky obtained the highly coveted courtroom seats by emailing Roberts’ sister, Peggy Roberts, and then going through his secretary. Roberts knows she is attending, she said. She, her partner, her sister and her niece will attend Tuesday’s arguments on Proposition 8. On Wednesday, her father will take her niece’s place for the hearing on the challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act.
Although Podrasky has no personal knowledge of her cousin’s views on same-sex marriage, she expects the court will overturn the 2008 ballot initiative, leaving her free to marry Fasano.
“I am definitely ready,” she said.
In the weeks before the November 2008 election, Podrasky carried a sign that said, “Prop. 8 is hate,” at a BART station and handed out fliers on a college campus. She called the passage of the gay marriage ban “such a blow.”
The San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights, which has fought for marriage rights, invited Podrasky to do a guest column about being related to the chief justice. The column will be emailed to members Monday.
“Everyone in this country has a family member who is part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community…,” she wrote. “As a Californian, I want nothing more than to marry my wonderful girlfriend. And as a tax-paying citizen, I seek basic fairness.”
She said she does not know whether having a lesbian family member would influence Roberts’ thinking.
“Everybody knows somebody” who is gay, she said. “It probably impacts everybody.”