The judge who presided over the first
federal trial to challenge the constitutionality of a gay marriage
ban, Judge Vaughn Walker, says he's gay.
In speaking to reporters on Wednesday,
Walker, a George W. Bush appointee, commented for the first time on
the rumors of his sexuality.
“He is a physician,” Walker said of
the man with whom he's had a 10 year relationship, news
agency Reuters reported.
He added that he never considered his
sexual orientation a good reason to recuse himself from the case,
which challenged the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California's
2008 voter-approved gay marriage ban.
Walker, who retired from the federal
bench in February after serving six years as chief judge in the
Northern District of California, was outed by the San Francisco
Chronicle nearly a year earlier. Previously he had offered a
polite “No comment” to questions on his sexuality.
He ruled Prop 8 unconstitutional but
supporters of the law have appealed the decision. Insiders believe
the case will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court, which could
set national policy.
During the trial, backers of the law
argued that they were placed at a “significant disadvantage”
because California's gay community has powerful and influential
allies, politicians and judges included among them. And concluded
that the community does not need protection from the government.
Walker's self outing is certain to add fodder to that argument.