Wedding at Supreme Court brings together W&M connections

  • A Supreme Court wedding
    A Supreme Court wedding
    Former William & Mary Rector Jeffrey B. Trammell ’73 (right) and his longtime partner Stuart Serkin were married by retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice -- and former W&M Chancellor -- Sandra Day O’Connor in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
    Courtesy photo

There were William & Mary connections at a wedding at the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Former William & Mary Rector Jeffrey B. Trammell ’73 and his longtime partner were married by retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice -- and former W&M Chancellor -- Sandra Day O’Connor.

Sandra Day O'Connor at William & Mary in 2009Trammell, who was William & Mary’s first openly gay Rector, wed Stuart Serkin, his partner of 36 years. It is believed to be one of just two same-sex marriages ever to take place in the Supreme Court building, located in Washington D.C. Justice Ruth Ginsberg became the first Justice to officiate a same-sex marriage in August. According to news reports, Justice Ruth Ginsberg also presided over a ceremony at the court on Saturday.

In June, the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, which had prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by individual states. Same-sex marriage was legalized in Washington, D.C., in 2009.

“Having Jeff Trammell, William & Mary’s former Rector, and his partner of many years, Stuart Serkin, married by Justice O’Connor, W&M’s former Chancellor, in a ceremony at the United States Supreme Court is quite wonderful,” said William & Mary President Taylor Reveley. “Congratulations to Jeff and Stuart! We wish them both great happiness.” 

A native of Blountstown, Fla., Trammell came to William & Mary in 1969 on a basketball scholarship.  He went on to become the team’s captain and was named all-conference in 1972. While an undergraduate at William & Mary, Trammell also served as president of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He has remained actively involved with William & Mary since graduating. Trammell was the founding chair and a board member of the university’s Thomas Jefferson Public Policy Program. He is also a former board member of the Greater Washington, D.C., chapter of the William & Mary Alumni Association.

Trammell, who received his law degree from Florida State University in 1977, worked for a number of years in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, where he was counsel to a subcommittee chair on the Committee on Energy and Commerce. He also founded Almanac Publishing, which produced annual references on government organizations. He has served on a number of boards, including that of the Human Rights Campaign and an advisory board to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Currently, he is president and founder of Trammell and Company, an external communications and public affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C.

Earlier this year, Trammell sent a letter to the presidents and rectors of public Virginia colleges, asking for their support in seeking health benefits for same-sex partners of their employees which Virginia currently doesn’t permit. Trammell argued that it puts Virginia universities at a competitive disadvantage with other institutions that do offer benefits.

Trammell, who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the university, served as the Rector, or chair of W&M’s governing body, from 2011 until he stepped down this July following his second term on the Board. He was first appointed to the Board of Visitors in 2005 and re-appointed in 2009.