Main | Monday, April 25, 2011

Prop 8 Proponents Move To Vacate Judge Vaughn Walker's Ruling Because He's Gay

They've been talking about it for weeks and today Prop 8's backers officially filed to vacate Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling overturning the ban of same-sex marriage in California. Because a gay judge cannot possibly be impartial about gay issues.
The sponsors of California's same-sex marriage ban said Monday that the recent disclosure by the federal judge who struck down Proposition 8 that he is in a long-term relationship with another man has given them new grounds to have his historic ruling overturned. Lawyers for the ban's backers filed a motion in San Francisco's U.S. District Court, arguing that Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker should have removed himself from the case or at least disclosed his relationship status because his "impartiality might reasonably be questioned." "Only if Chief Judge Walker had unequivocally disavowed any interest in marrying his partner could the parties and the public be confident that he did not have a direct personal interest in the outcome of the case," attorneys for the coalition of religious and conservative groups that put Proposition 8 on the November 2008 ballot wrote.
Lambda Legal's Jon Davidson reacts:
To say that Judge Walker's should have disclosed his ten-year relationship with another man or that it made him unfit to rule on Proposition 8 is like saying that a married heterosexual judge deciding an issue in a divorce proceeding has to disclose if he or she is having marital problems and might someday be affected by legal rulings in the case. Or that any judge who professes any religious faith is unable to rule on any question of religious liberty or, at a minimum, must disclose what his faith teaches. Much like a suggestion that a female judge could not preside over a case involving sexual harassment or an African American judge could not preside over a case involving race discrimination, Proposition 8's supporters improperly are suggesting that a judge will rule in favor of any litigant with whom he shares a personal characteristic.
American Foundation for Equal Rights reacts:
"This motion is yet another in a string of desperate and absurd motions by Prop 8 Proponents who refuse to accept the fact that the freedom to marry is a constitutional right. They're attempting to keep secret the video of the public trial and they're attacking the judge because they disagree with his decision. Clearly, the Proponents are grasping at straws because they have
NCLR's Shannon Minter reacts:
"This is a desperate and ill-advised move that underscores their inability to defend Prop 8 on the merits. This is not likely to win them any points with the courts, who understandably do not appreciate having the integrity of judges called into question based on such outrageous grounds. This is part and parcel of the underhanded way the Prop 8 campaign itself was run-based on lies, insinuations, and unsupported innuendo."

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