What Judge Friedman Learned About Gay Families From a Lesbian Law Clerk
This story provides some background on the relationship between U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman (1988 Reagan appointee), who on Friday declared Michigan’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, and newly minted 6th Circuit Court Judge Judith Levy (nominated by Obama in 2013 and confirmed this month). She is the first openly gay judge to serve on that court.
There’s no snarkiness or outrage, no hyperbole or partisan finger-pointing, it’s just an interesting and very human story about a professional relationship between two people which, through mutual respect & tolerance, became a personal friendship spanning nearly two decades. They both now sit on the same court—amazing how much has changed in less than 20 years.
Bernard A. Friedman, Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Almost 19 years ago — long before most Michiganders could imagine a day when gay and lesbian couples would enjoy the right to marry and raise children together — U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman discovered that a social revolution was breaking out in his own chambers.
It was the summer of 1995, and Judith Levy, the second-year University of Michigan Law School student Friedman had recently tapped to become his law clerk after she graduated the following June, had come to the federal courthouse in downtown Detroit to meet her future boss for lunch.
They’d come face-to-face just once before, when Levy interviewed for the clerk’s job the previous February, and Levy had chosen not to share with Friedman the good news she and her partner, Janet Johnson, were privately celebrating.
But now, seven months later, the clerk’s job was hers, and there was no hiding their secret: Levy was pregnant. […]