While proponents of a Constitutional amendment banning recognition of same-sex marriage in California believe that Judge Vaughn Walker was biased in striking down California’s Proposition 8 because he did not disclose publicly that he is in a same-sex relationship; most legal experts believe a district judge hearing arguments in favor of overturning the decision is unlikely to do so.
“Just as every single one of the attempts to disqualify judges on the basis of their race, gender, or religious affiliation has been rejected by other courts,” wrote California Attorney General, Kamala Harris in a brief filed in opposition to overturning the ruling, “this Court should similarly reject Defendant-Intervenors’ effort to disqualify Judge Walker based on his sexual orientation.”
Harris concluded, “the fact that Judge Walker is, like many individuals, in a long-term relationship that might or might not result in marriage is insufficient to show either that he has a disqualifying interest in the outcome of this litigation or that his impartiality may be questioned.”
According to the L.A. Times legal experts from around the country are nearly unified in the belief that the ruling will not be overturned, while still disagreeing over whether or not the Judge had an obligation to disclose his relationship status before the trial.
“A judge should always disclose facts that are not publicly available, as in public financial disclosure filings,” New York University Law School Professor Stephen Gillers told the Times, “to give the parties a chance to seek recusal.”