Americans are prepared to accept a U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, pointing to what she described as a sweeping change in attitudes toward gays. In an interview Wednesday in the court’s oak-paneled east conference room, Ginsburg also said President Barack Obama’s health-care law, which is under attack in a case before the Supreme Court next month, will be a central part of his legacy. The 81-year-old justice discussed the public’s increasing acceptance of gays against the backdrop of resistance by Alabama officials to a federal court order that took effect Monday and made it the 37th gay-marriage state. With the high court set to rule on the issue by June, she said it “would not take a large adjustment” for Americans should the justices say that gay marriage is a constitutional right.
JUDGE RUTH: Americans ready for gay marriage
“The change in people’s attitudes on that issue has been enormous,” Ginsburg said. “In recent years, people have said, ‘This is the way I am.’ And others looked around, and we discovered it’s our next-door neighbor — we’re very fond of them. Or it’s our child’s best friend, or even our child. I think that as more and more people came out and said that ‘this is who I am,’ the rest of us recognized that they are one of us.” The number of gay-marriage states has soared in recent years, largely because of court rulings. Only 12 states permitted such unions in June 2013, when the Supreme Court threw out part of a law that denied federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples. The majority’s reasoning in that case prompted lower courts to strike down bans on gay marriage. More