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02/09/2010

Pro-Prop 8ers: We don't care about Walker's sexuality, we only care that you care

by Jeremy Hooper

WalkerThe way the far-right is handling Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn' Walker's "outing" is absolutely disgusting. Because they're not just coming out and saying that the Prop 8 federal trial judge's sexual orientation makes him biased. If they were, we'd almost have more respect. But instead, they're timorously putting the point out there, and using it as further "fuel" for their ridiculous claim that the trial has been stacked against them from the beginning, with Judge Walker being the reason why.

Focus on the Family:

As any reader of this blog already knows, I’ve criticized Walker’s handling of the case from the beginning. His rulings on discovery disputes, unnecessary factual issues he wanted to see developed at trial, and his incomprehensible series of maneuvers attempting to get television cameras in his courtroom, have all revealed a bias in favor of the anti-Prop 8 plaintiffs. The source of that bias could be the judge’s sexual orientation. At this point that’s just speculation. The fact that the bias exists is what’s important.
San Francisco Chronicle “outs” Prop 8 judge [FOF]

National Organization for Marriage:

In a story this Sunday (Feb. 7), the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Prop 8 Judge Vaughn Walker is gay and called his orientation, “The biggest open secret in the landmark trial over same-sex marriage.”

We have no idea whether the report is true or not. But we do know one really big important fact about Judge Walker: He’s been an amazingly biased and one-sided force throughout this trial, far more akin to an activist than a neutral referee. That’s no secret at all.

Got Bias? SF Chronicle Reports Prop 8 Judge Vaughn Walker is Gay [NOM]

National Review's Ed Whelan:

Walker’s entire course of conduct has only one sensible explanation: that Walker is hellbent to use the case to advance the cause of same-sex marriage. Given his manifest inability to be impartial, Walker should have recused himself from the beginning, and he remains obligated to do so now.
Judge Walker’s Skewed Judgment [NRO]

See what they're doing? They're acting as if they're merely reporting on his sexual orientation because they have to, as if their journalistic ethics somehow demand it of them. But then, so as not to seem witch-hunty, they are acting as if the orientation doesn't matter -- that it's Walker's supposed "bias" that does. But you and I both know that they put the gay whispers out there deliberately (NOM's was sent out as a fundraising email), knowing that this point truly DOES matter to their side. It's like code: They want their followers to become enraged that a gay judge might be ruling in this case, they just don't want to be the ones to come out and say it.

The thing is: Our opposition is totally right that the cards in this case are stacked against them. However, that's because (a) the facts are on our side; and (b) they, quite frankly, have shown remarkably shitty performance throughout this trial! Some of their intended witnesses were withdrawn after it was clear they'd do more for our side than theirs. Other intended witnesses turned hostile, with their "gay=prostitution/pedophilia" claims being used by our team instead. And then there was David Blankenhorn, who saw his testimony belied by his own words. All while our team, led by Ted Olson and David Boies, has proceeded with little to no missteps. Our side had confidence, because we are confident about the worth of our case, and the lack of merit in our opposition's. And yes, there are MANY people who see it this way. But the ones who side with us do so not because of bias, but rather because they've accurately pinpointed how wrong-headed the anti-equality forces' own biases truly are! If this case comes down in the equality side's favor, that will be the reason why.

We're not at all surprised that NOM, FOF, National Review, or any other "pro-marriage" types would attempt to make anti-gay hay out of Judge Walker's sexual orientation. However, we think it's going to backfire if they push this one to far. Because let's face it: A gajillion heterosexual justices have weighed in on a bajillion cases involving heterosexual relationships. If they try to say that "gay judge = bias," it's going to say FAR more about their side than it will ours! In fact, that they're already doing so, and doing so in such a weak-kneed way, is itself quite telling

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Your thoughts

Using their logic; "gay judge = bias",
then wouldn't the oposite also be true;
straight judge = bias?

Posted by: Bob Miller | Feb 9, 2010 9:53:20 AM

This is just another example of the continual anti-gay drumbeat emanating from those promoting the anti-gay agenda. Just as radical conservatives in Congress never let a day go by without attacking and reviling Obama, radical anti-gay activists never let a day go by without attacking and reviling law-abiding, taxpaying, gay Americans.

They will lie and say anything to justify (to themselves) their disobeying of Christ's commandment to treat others as we want to be treated.

Posted by: Michael | Feb 9, 2010 11:46:42 AM

We'd do well to remember that implication: a gay judge can't be unbiased in such a case. Well, obviously then, a straight judge can't be unbiased either. Who'd be left to hear the case? Maybe a jury? Well, if neither straights nor gays can be unbiased, who's gonna sit on the jury? Asexual priests? How about a group of pre-pubescent transsexuals?

Posted by: Chuck Mielke | Feb 9, 2010 12:21:38 PM

As I posted elsewhere on this: "What if Walker were a straight conservative Christian (i.e., from a church that believes SSM is sinful) or even an 'ex-gay'? Should he have recused himself then? That doesn’t leave many judges to take the case. I don’t blame the defense for making his sexuality an issue in some ways. It’s a logical move in pressing their case and were I in their place would do the same – just like I would on the other side if Walker were either of the examples I gave above. Eh, I haven’t really been following this case much anyways mostly because I don’t believe it has a chance when it reaches SCOTUS."

Somehow I doubt that these 'pro-family' groups would mind if Walker were either of the examples I gave above...

Posted by: John | Feb 9, 2010 12:25:26 PM

They're circling around accusing Walker of deliberate bias; which would be even stupider than I think they are since the last thing they should be wanting to do is accusing the judge who is about to render a decision in their case of being, essentially, corrupt.

They ARE accusing him of being corrupt, of course, and they're hoping their coded language will only be understood by the suckers that donate money.

Posted by: TomTallis | Feb 9, 2010 5:55:58 PM

The whole thing is ridiculous. Judge Walker was radomly selected to sit on the case. NOM and the others have not put that fact into their publicity. It's a canard they have brought up simply because their case (pro Prop8) has no merit.

Posted by: Mykelb | Feb 10, 2010 10:53:32 PM

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