red herrings

NOM Doesn’t Have a Problem With Judge Vaughn Walker Being Gay. Just With His Radical Activism


Oh, Brian Brown, how you slay us. You don’t care, you say, that Perry‘s Judge Vaugn Walker is gay. You just care that he’s clearly biased!

Not that you’re convincing anyone your argument is immune to Walker’s sexuality, given your statement’s headline (“Got Bias? SF Chronicle Reports Prop 8 Judge Vaughn Walker is Gay”) and its lede: “In a story this Sunday (Feb. 7), the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Prop 8 Judge Vaughn Walker is gay and called his orientation, ‘The biggest open secret in the landmark trial over same-sex marriage.’ We have no idea whether the report is true or not. But we do know one really big important fact about Judge Walker: He’s been an amazingly biased and one-sided force throughout this trial, far more akin to an activist than a neutral referee. That’s no secret at all.”

Way to address the elephant in the room without bumping into it.

But this move is true to form for the National Organization for Marriage, of which Brown is the executive director. It’s the “smiling bigot” phenomenon, where religious beliefs are slyly substituted for important secular responsibilities like “family and children,” hoping nobody notices. It’s imperative for NOM, and the defendants in Perry, to put distance between their goal (banning gay marriage) and their reasoning for it (it goes against religious teachings), because courts regularly shoot down arguments tied to the cross. And Brown’s statement repeats NOM’s earlier positions: They don’t have anything wrong with gay people, they just don’t want them screwing with their sacred institution.

Except Brown’s statement has all the ringings of, in a hypothetical and parallel situation, notifying his supporters that the judge overseeing a race-based case is black, not that there’s anything wrong with that. That Walker is gay, then, should receive the same amount of “controversy” as learning Walker is straight. Because then, of course, he would be biased against homosexuals.