Void Prop 8 Ruling: Gay Marriage Foes
Judge's decade-long same-sex relationship a conflict of interest
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2011 8:34 AM CDT
In this photo taken Wednesday, July 8, 2009, Judge Vaughn Walker is seen in his chambers at the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco, Calif.   (AP Photo/San Francisco Chronicle, Paul Chinn)

(Newser) – The ruling against California's controversial Proposition 8 should be set aside, a group argued yesterday, not because the judge who ruled against it is gay—but because he's in a long-term relationship with his partner. ProtectMarriage, which sponsored the 2008 ballot initiative prohibiting gay marriage, filed a motion asking a district court to vacate Vaughn Walker's ruling because his 10-year-long same-sex relationship created a conflict of interest, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Walker's sexuality came up more than once during the trial, but this is the first time ProtectMarriage has made an issue of it. The move follows Walker's recent disclosure of his long-term relationship; attorneys for the group argue that because the relationship was serious and could have led to marriage, the judge had a direct interest in the outcome of the case and should have either recused himself or fully disclosed the relationship. But the Times notes that Walker's partner was widely known in San Francisco's legal circles and accompanied him to law events, and a law school dean says there's "no chance whatsoever" the court will void Walker's ruling on such grounds.
 

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