Motion Filed to Overturn Prop 8 Ruling Because Judge Is in a Long-term Gay Relationship

By
Judge Vaughn Walker.Photo: Getty Images

On Monday, proponents of California's same-sex-marriage ban filed a motion to overturn last August's ruling on Proposition 8 because U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker is gay and in a long-term relationship. Lawyers who filed the motion believe that Walker's sexuality — and the fact that he's in a long-term relationship with another man — gave him a personal stake in overturning Prop 8 and created a conflict of interest. "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," reads a statement from the attorneys. They're now asking the courts to toss out Walker's August 2010 decision

Indiana University Law School professor and ethics expert Charles Geyh believes that the judge's sexual orientation and relationship status isn't relevant to the case. And, said Geyh, the mere fact that Walker is in a long-term homosexual relationship isn't a strong enough defense to make much of a difference. "It really implies it would be fine if he were essentially surfing at bars and had a new partner every night because he wouldn't want to be married," he said. "I don't see that as advancing their cause."

Judge's gay partner raised in Proposition 8 case [AP]