|June 14, 2011|
San Francisco – Chief Judge James Ware of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California today denied a motion by Prop 8 proponents asking the court to vacate Chief Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling declaring Prop 8 unconstitutional. The Prop 8 supporters contended that now-retired Judge Walker should have declined to hear the case because he was in a long-term relationship with another man, and that the judge’s decision should be invalidated for that reason.
Last month, Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the ACLU of Northern California and Lambda Legal filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Perry v. Brown urging the U.S. District Court not to vacate last year’s historic ruling invalidating Proposition 8. The brief contended that the Prop 8 supporters’ motion closely parallels long-discredited historical attempts to disqualify judges based on their race, sex or religion. The groups argued that the Prop 8 supporters’ argument boils down to the notion that essentially no gay, lesbian or bisexual judge could impartially preside over a case involving the rights of same-sex couples – an offensive suggestion that has been consistently rejected by the courts in similar cases involving race and sex discrimination.
“Today’s ruling is another heartening victory in our struggle for equality. We applaud the court for rejecting the pathetic attempts by Prop 8 backers to viciously malign Judge Walker,” said Jim Carroll, Interim Executive Director of Equality California. “Because proponents of the marriage ban have repeatedly failed to present even a shred of evidence to support the insidious discrimination that Prop 8 fosters, they tried and failed to hide behind groundless, shameful arguments to discredit Judge Walker – arguments that fail to hold up under even the slightest scrutiny. As more and more Americans support equality and freedom, we are hopeful that families headed by same-sex couples will one day soon see justice. Thanks to the American Foundation for Equal Rights and its talented legal team for their ongoing commitment to this noble fight.”
Judge Ware also denied a motion by Prop 8 supporters that would have required the plaintiffs' lawyers to return their copies of the video recordings of the trial.