Chief U.S. District Court Judge James Ware ruled that Judge Vaughn Walker’s gay relationship is no basis for tossing out his decision overturning California’s same-sex marriage ban.
The Associated Press reports:
A federal judge has a message for those trying to salvage California’s gay marriage ban: Sure, the judge who threw out the measure last year is in a long-term relationship with a man, but he could still be fair to them.
Chief U.S. District Court Judge James Ware’s ruling Tuesday rejected arguments that former Chief Judge Vaughn Walker would potentially benefit from declaring the ban unconstitutional.
In his 19-page decision – a response to the first attempt in the nation to disqualify a judge based on sexual orientation – Ware had a bigger message. Gay judges, he said, are just like minority and female jurists: They can be impartial, too, even in cases that might affect them.
“We all have an equal stake in a case that challenges the constitutionality of a restriction on a fundamental right,” he wrote. “The single characteristic that Judge Walker shares with the plaintiffs, albeit one that might not have been shared with the majority of Californians, gave him no greater interest in a proper decision on the merits than would exist for any other judge or citizen.”
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