News (USA)

Proposition 8 backers ask court to void ruling because gay judge was ‘biased’

Proposition 8 backers ask court to void ruling because gay judge was ‘biased’
Vaughn Walker

Supporters of California’s Proposition 8 — the voter approved ban on gay marriage, that was later declared unconstitutional — are seeking to have the ruling voided because the federal judge that presided over the case is gay and was in a long-term relationship.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

In a court filing, the sponsors of the ban on gay marriage, ProtectMarriage, asked the chief judge of the federal court in San Francisco to nullify last August’s ruling by former U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who retired earlier this year.

ProtectMarriage said Walker should have disclosed his involvement with his male partner before presiding over the marriage trial because it constituted a conflict of interest

“Judge Walker’s 10-year-long same-sex relationship creates the unavoidable impression that he was not the impartial judge the law requires,” ProtectMarriage argued in the legal filing.

On Aug. 4, 2010, Walker struck down the measure as unconstitutional, ruling that “moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians.”

Earlier this month, Walker — now retiredconfirmed for the first time publicly that his is gay, although it was widely known before the trial began.

Walker said he never considered his own homosexuality a reason to recuse himself from the case.

“If you thought a judge’s sexuality, ethnicity, national origin (or) gender would prevent the judge from handling a case, that’s a very slippery slope,” Walker said.

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