Prop 8 Trial Judge is Gay, and Media is Finally Talking About It
The SF Chronicle today brings up an aspect of the Prop 8 trial that media didn't touch while the trial was underway — the fact that Judge Vaughn Walker is gay.
National Center for Lesbian Rights head Kate Kendell thinks the judge's sexuality will likely be brought up by Prop 8 supporters should they lose the case, a notion that general counsel for the Prop 8 side Andrew Pugno denies:
"We are not going to say anything about that."
Considering the Prop 8 case was assigned to Walker at random, and Walker has ruled against gays in cases past, objections to the ruling because of the judge's sexuality seem unlikely to get very far.
Walker has declined to talk about anything involving the Prop. 8 case outside court, and he wouldn't comment to us when we asked about his orientation and whether it was relevant to the lawsuit.
Many San Francisco gays still hold Walker in contempt for a case he took when he was a private attorney, when he represented the U.S. Olympic Committee in a successful bid to keep San Francisco's Gay Olympics from infringing on its name.
"Life is full of irony," the judge replied when we reminded him about that episode.
And did he have any concerns about being characterized as gay?
Shortly after our conversation, we heard from a federal judge who counts himself as a friend and confidant of Walker's. He said he had spoken with Walker and was concerned that "people will come to the conclusion that (Walker) wants to conceal his sexuality."
"He has a private life and he doesn't conceal it, but doesn't think it is relevant to his decisions in any case, and he doesn't bring it to bear in any decisions," said the judge, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the Prop. 8 trial.
"Is it newsworthy?" he said of Walker's orientation, and laughed. "Yes."
He said it was hard to ignore the irony that "in the beginning, when (Walker) sought to be a judge, a major obstacle he had to overcome was the perception that he was anti-gay."
Judge being gay a nonissue during Prop. 8 trial [sf chronicle]