Would It Help Things If the Prop 8 Judge Was Gay?


Is U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker — the San Francisco federal judge overseeing the Boies-Olson Prop 8 lawsuit — a big ‘mo? Maybe! That’s the gaydar report from Michael Petrelis, who notes the usual factors: No mention of a wife in press reports, plus Walker’s “chipper demeanor,” and suggestions from a reporter and gay activist the judge plays for our team. (Posting the item to DailyKos had the website’s administrators warning him not to out anyone.)

If Walker is one of The Gays, does this mean the Prop 8 case in a shoe-in for our side? Not unless you think having a black man on the court means you’ll get a vote against white defendants. The idea that a judge’s identity will play a role in his decisions is, on its face, a ridiculous assumption. The men and women who make up the upper echelons of justice learned long ago in their careers that personal beliefs must be set aside when interpreting the law — despite all those alleged “activist judges” making law.

But if Walker does have an affinity for other men, it certainly doesn’t hurt our chances to have him hearing the case. But already he’s shown he’s handling things squarely, denying a request for an immediate stay of Prop 8. But Walker explicitly stated he wants to move the case quickly to trial — which will take place in a courtroom that doesn’t belong to Walker.

And so begs the question: If Walker is gay, and the courts manage to overturn Prop 8, and Walker opts to marry his male partner down the road, does that mean he was biased all along? YES OF COURSE.

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  • Cam

    It’s no different than a woman judge deciding an abortion case or a male judge deciding on a child support case. It just means the judge has more insight into being gay. Hopefully he’ll make the right decision, but sometimes people are so eagar to prove that they AREN’T biased that they end up going overboard the other way. Keep your fingers crossed!

  • M Shane

    Queerty, you are almost right about some matters of jurisprudence; in that to a degree, on matters that are really clearcut thereis not but one way to go. That is frequently not the case however, judges do “make ” law by interpretation, by what they decide is the spirit of a law and how it relates to other decisions etc. There is room for subjectivity. You are downright wrong about the last point. There could be several reasons for his moving the issue outside of his court; possibly just percieved bias one way or another if he is gay. If he is gay he may well not believe in marriage, possibly civil unions;; a lot of gay people don’t believe in marriage on principle.

    His having it taken care of now mopst likely has to do with not making people hold their breaths for long because the bill is so clearly unbeatable.

  • Stephen

    “Will take place in a court room that doesn’t belong to Walker”

    That says it right there. If he’s not making the ruling for it, then this whole article is moot for the judge’s bias…

  • Bill

    I actually interned in Walker’s chambers. I didn’t pick up on any overtly gay signals (I’m gay myself), but a friend of mine who later worked for him was adamant that he was gay. Neither of us worked up the nerve to ask him directly. He came across as fairly conservative. He was also a Reagan appointee, and before becoming a judge he represented the US Olympic Committee in a trademark suit against the Gay Olympics. So anyone thinking the outcome of the Prop 8 suit is preordained is off by a long shot.

  • Chris

    I don’t know where this author got the idea that some judge other than Walker will handle the trial. That is not true. Walker will handle all aspects of the case, including the trial, until it goes up on appeal.

  • Flex

    Will a gay justice help our cause? Absolutely not! It is rumored that justice Corrigan, on the California Supreme Court is a lesbian, she was outed in L.A. I can’t confirm my source either. But, we all know how she ruled in the marriage cases, in May 2008.

  • keith

    HE’S GAY! It’s pretty well known around SF that he is gay. But, don’t count on that swaying his decisions or rulings. He may be gay, but that won’t affect his decisions.

  • gracevgray

    we do not want gay marriage we voted, we spoke we do not want two men or two woman as parents, god has sent enough judgement as it is.

  • RW in LGB

    @gracevgray: You bigot, you’re too stupid for words. Let’s vote to take away YOUR civil rights, shall we?

    The US Constitution is supposed to protect the civil rights of minorities from the likes of idiot cunts like you in the “majority”. Would that there were an intelligence test to be able to vote in the US. You would definitely know what it’s like to be a second-class citizen. Stupid twat.

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