Chief Justice John Roberts has an openly lesbian cousin from San Francisco, 48-year-old Jean Podrasky, and she's in D.C. this week to sit in on the Supreme Court hearings on the Prop 8 and DOMA cases Tuesday and Wednesday. She says that the conservative Roberts "sees where the tide is going" and she thinks "he will go in a good direction" on the issue of gay marriage.

Podrasky is bringing along her partner of four years, Grace Fasano, whom she hopes to marry just as soon as Prop 8 falls. She also went to D.C. during Roberts' confirmation hearing in 2005.

Also, Podrasky penned a guest column for the San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights newsletter today. In it, she writes, "As a Californian, I want nothing more than to marry my wonderful girlfriend. And as a tax-paying citizen, I seek basic fairness."

She previously campaigned against Prop 8 prior to the 2008 election, and today she says of her first cousin:

"He is a smart man. 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 says she hopes to be able to spend some private time with her maternal cousin, whom she only usually sees at family events, during her stay in D.C.

Much like he did with the landmark decision on the healthcare initiative last year, Roberts could surprise us all by voting with the liberals on this one, but the legal questions remain complicated and the implications across the states are huge, and not without controversies.

At the very least we hope that Prop 8 is found unconstitutional, but that could have major implications for other states that have passed voter-approved initiatives banning gay marriage — especially depending on the wording of their individual state constitutions vis a vis discrimination. But likewise, if the justices find that Prop 8 should stand, this will only solidify such state measures across the country. Whether or not the court decides to rule narrowly or broadly, it is likely that Justice Kennedy, with his seniority, will be writing the majority opinion on this one.

Currently 30 states have passed constitutional amendments outlawing gay marriage, while nine states and the District of Columbia have all passed laws allowing it, and another eight states including California have domestic partnership and civil union laws that allow for everything but legal marriage. Another seven currently allow for civil unions but have further limits on the law. Check out this handy flowchart from the NYT to understand the various options the court has in the two cases, and how many states would potentially be affected by each. The Obama Administration has already advocated for the middle-of-the-road option on Prop 8, dubbed the "eight-state solution," in which those eight states where everything-but-marriage is allowed would need to go ahead and just call it marriage.

Following this week's hubbub, expect things to go quiet as we await the SCOTUS decision, which will likely arrive in June just before the court takes its summer break.

[LA Times]
[ABC News]

Previously: Bill Clinton Finally Admits DOMA Should Be Overturned
Obama Takes Strong Stand for Gay Marriage, Files Amicus Brief in Prop 8 Case

All previous Prop 8 coverage on SFist.