15 June 2011

A small victory in Prop 8 case (but a long battle ahead)

Yesterday, U.S. District Court Chief Judge James S. Ware denied a motion to throw out last year's ruling that California's Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative which outlawed same-sex marriage in that state, is unconstitutional.

The bigots in this case claimed that last year's ruling by Judge Vaughn Walker should be vacated because Walker should have recused himself from the case because he (Walker) is gay. Yesterday's ruling disagreed.

From the decision:
"After considering the Oppositions to the Motion and the governing law, as discussed below, the Court finds that neither recusal nor disqualification was required based on the asserted grounds. The sole fact that a federal judge shares the same circumstances or personal characteristics with other members of the general public, and that the judge could be affected by the outcome of a proceeding in the same way that other members of the general public would be affected, is not a basis for either recusal or disqualification under Section 455(b)(4).

"Further, under Section 455(a), it is not reasonable to presume that a judge is incapable of making an impartial decision about the constitutionality of a law, solely because, as a citizen, the judge could be affected by the proceedings. Accordingly, the Motion to Vacate Judgment on the sole ground of Judge Walker’s same-sex relationship is DENIED."
>> Read the full decision. (PDF)

While this is good news, Prop 8 will probably remain tied up in the courts for quite a while.

And when it gets all the way to the Supreme Court, anything could happen.

Stay tuned, with fingers crossed for equality.

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