Lawyers defending Proposition 8,
California's gay marriage ban, want the ruling of former U.S.
District Judge Vaughn Walker scrapped because he's gay.
Last August, Walker ruled that the 2008
voter-approved law was unconstitutional after presiding over a 13-day
trial in San Francisco.
Earlier this month – three months
into his retirement from the bench – Walker acknowledged that he's
gay and in a ten-year relationship with a physician, confirming for
the first time a San Francisco Chronicle report published in
told reporters that he never considered his sexual orientation a good
reason to recuse himself from the case.
But lawyers for Protect Marriage, the
coalition of socially conservative groups defending the law,
disagree. In a motion filed on Monday, the group said Walker should
have disqualified himself because he is in a same-sex relationship.
“If at any time while this case was
pending before him, Chief Judge Walker and his partner determined
that they desired, or might desire, to marry, Chief Judge Walker
plainly had an interest that could be substantially affected by the
outcome of the proceeding,” lawyers wrote.
Andrew Pugno, general counsel for
Protect Marriage, also railed against Walker in a statement.
“The American people have a right to
a fair judicial process, free from even the appearance of bias or
prejudice. Judge Walker's ten-year-long same-sex relationship
creates the unavoidable impression that he was not the impartial
judge the law requires. He was obligated to either recuse himself or
provide full disclosure of this relationship at the outset of the
case. These circumstances demand setting aside his decision.”
Chad Griffin, president of the American
Foundation for Equal Rights, the group formed specifically to support
the case, called the claim “desperate and absurd.”
“They're attacking the judge because
they disagree with his decision,” Griffin told POLITICO.com.