Judge Stephen Shuster

Judge J. Stephen Schuster

 By Michael Jacobs | mjacobs@atljewishtimes.com

The Supreme Court decision to make same-sex marriage legal nationwide put some of Georgia’s Jewish judges in the simcha spotlight.

DeKalb County Probate Judge Jeryl Rosh, for instance, decided to open Saturday, June 27, the day after the ruling, to accommodate county residents’ questions and increased applications for marriage licenses.

“The highest court in the land has ruled on the issue, and it is up to the rest of the judiciary to follow the law and accommodate the citizens of each jurisdiction,” Rosh said.

Cobb County Superior Court Chief Judge J. Stephen Schuster shared that sentiment, and he performed the county’s first same-sex wedding about six hours after the ruling.

He said the Cobb courts had planned for the decision and were determined to follow the law as established by the Supreme Court. Normally, the county magistrate performs weddings at 6 p.m. daily, but Cobb decided to add the option of 4 p.m. weddings the day of the ruling.

As the county’s top judge, Schuster said, it was his duty to perform the ceremony for the first couple, two men from Smyrna, and establish that “we are going to do this with dignity and respect.”

“You set the tone at the top, abide by the law, follow the rule of law,” the judge said.

He said the atrium of the courthouse was filled with people who wanted to see the historic ceremonies, but no one was there to protest or cause trouble.

While the marriages were important for the couples, Schuster said, they were almost routine for the judges because of the lack of drama.

“This is the modern Cobb County,” he said. “We did it. I’m proud of everybody involved.”