A photo on the front page of Tuesday's Burlington Free Press captured a lighthearted moment from yesterday's swearing-in ceremony of Vermont Supreme Court Justice Beth Robinson. The 46-year-old lawyer and gay rights advocate is responsible for the fact that same-sex couples can marry in Vermont.
To Robinson's left is Gov. Peter Shumlin, the guy who appointed her to the bench and for whom she has served as legal counsel for the past year.
To Robinson's right? The picture shows a smiling woman — with a camera — sharing a laugh with Robinson. But the caption doesn't identify her. Not a whisper. And she is, of course, Robinson's wife: Dr. Kym Boyman.
Normally such an omission would be no big deal. Standard, even. But the irony of this one can't be ignored.
Robinson has spent most of her professional life trying to get Vermont to recognize gay and lesbian relationships. She made a convincing case for civil unions before the Vermont Supreme Court in 1999. Then she masterminded the lobbying effort that led the legislature to pass same-sex marriage into law in 2009.
That Robinson's own partner remains nameless in a photo that otherwise perfectly documents her personal odyssey proves there's still work to be done.
If that was Mr. Robinson sitting next to Vermont's newest supreme court justice, do you think a copy editor would have tracked down the photographer to confirm his identity? No doubt.
Justice for all? Not yet.