Our Letter To Justice Ginsburg Following Death of Justice Scalia
Following is the letter that James and I are sending to Supreme Court Ginsburg following the death of her colleague and friend, Justice Antonin Scalia.
February 13, 2016
Dear Justice Ginsburg,
Gregory and I hope that you will accept our sincerest sympathies and condolences at the passing of your friend, Justice Antonin Scalia. We are saddened to learn this afternoon of his death in Texas while on a hunting trip, though we are grateful that his passing was apparently not one of great suffering. We have been reading for years of the friendship you have shared, from family dinners at the first of the year to joint vacations to attending theatrical productions together. We hope that the friendship that the two of you enjoyed will serve as a bright light on the path toward your own emotional healing. Let his spirit guide you to others who are important in your life and let those friends and family be of comfort to you, as we wish that we could be. We will be lifting you in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.
We write, as a gay couple living in America; we know of the special heartache that losing a friend represents. There are those who would deny you the ‘right’ to feel a deep and intense grief at your loss because you are not family with Justice Scalia. When that happens, know that there is a name for your pain: a disenfranchised grief—as though your loss is less than that suffered by someone related by blood. Those people, in their well-intentioned concern for the family, are in fact wrong. As a good and close friend and colleague of the late Justice, you absolutely have right to feel his loss very deeply and we hope you will demand it. In the Victorian Age, when grief was a more frequent visitor in our lives, people donned their black garb and went about their daily lives wearing the outward symbol of grief from sometimes more than a year. Today, people misguidedly think that we should be over our pain just after the coffin is lowered in to the ground. Take it from us, the LGBT community, which has long been redefining the notion of family, especially in times of pain—consider the people who are important in your life your family, and don’t worry so much about blood lines. Most importantly, take the time to grieve your colleague; your emotional heartache at this time is also a part of being a friend and it means he was important to you. That in itself is a special gift.
While the Justice Scalia was rarely (if ever) on the same side of the issues as us, we do genuinely thank him for his willingness to serve our democracy all of these years. Since we have both worked in government at the State level here in Wisconsin, we value the sacrifices of those such as yourself who give of their time for the betterment of our Republic. We thank you both for your years of service.