Prop 8 Supporters Cite Judge’s Same-Sex Relationship in Motion to Set Aside His Ruling
Sponsors of California’s Proposition 8 referendum banning gay marriages contend the federal judge who struck down the law should have recused himself because of a 10-year same-sex relationship.
In a motion to set aside the verdict, sponsors of the initiative say former Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco had a clear stake in the outcome because of the possibility he will marry his partner, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press.
Walker retired earlier this year; the motion was filed with the new chief judge in San Francisco, U.S. District Judge James Ware. In media interviews earlier this month, Walker acknowledged being gay but said it wasn’t relevant. “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,” he said.
University of California at Irvine law dean Erwin Chemerinsky told the Los Angeles Times there was “no chance whatsoever” that the motion would be successful. Meanwhile, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is weighing an appeal. It has asked the California Supreme Court for guidance on whether Proposition 8 backers have standing to pursue the case after the state declined to appeal the ruling.