A federal judge refused to invalidate last year’s ruling striking down Proposition 8, holding that the gay jurist who overturned the same-sex marriage ban had no obligation to step aside because of a possible conflict of interest.
While, Chief Judge James Ware of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco left the ruling by retired Judge Vaughn R. Walker in place, the decision remains on hold pending a separate appeal to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Walker, 67, an openly gay judge, told reporters after he retired in February that he and his partner, a physician, have been together for 10 years. ProtectMarriage, the proponent of Proposition 8, said Walker should have disclosed that prior to trial, and it asked Ware to throw out his ruling. Proponents of Proposition 8 argued that Walker’s conflict was not his sexual orientation, but the fact that he was in a serious same-sex relationship that could conceivably lead to marriage. This must be the only time gay-marriage opponents have taken the position that it’s better to have promiscuous gays rather than have to deal with those that seek to marry.
“It is not reasonable to presume that a judge is incapable of making an impartial decision about the constitutionality of a law, solely because, as a citizen, the judge could be affected by the proceedings,” Ware wrote in his ruling.