U.S. Circuit Court Judge Stephen R.
Reinhardt has denied a motion to recuse himself from the three-judge
panel set to hear an appeal on Proposition 8, California's gay
Proposition 8 supporters on Wednesday
asked Reinhardt to remove himself from the proceedings because his
wife, Ramona Ripston, is the executive director of the American Civil
Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California, a group that supported
the plaintiffs in the case. According to the motion for recusal,
Ripston is a vocal critic of the gay marriage ban.
Reinhardt on Thursday denied the
motion, insisting he would “rule impartially in this appeal.”
The 2008 voter-approved law is being
defended by ProtectMarriage.com, a coalition of religious-based
groups formed specifically to repeal gay marriage in California.
“We accept Judge Reinhardt's decision
and plan no further action,” ProtectMarriage.com lawyer Andy Pugno
told the Sacramento Bee. “But we felt we had no choice but
to ask him to remove himself in light of his wife's extensive
involvement in this very case.”
The panel's makeup of two judges
appointed by Democrats and one appointed by a Republican suggests it
will lean in favor of supporting a lower court's ruling that found
the law to be unconstitutional.
Oral arguments, which will be broadcast
on C-SPAN, begin at 10AM on Monday.