With the stunning revelation by the recently retired federal judge who overturned California’s Proposition 8 and thereby legalized same-sex marriage that he himself is involved in a long-time homosexual relationship, prominent legal analysts are now saying Vaughn Walker’s controversial decision should be vacated immediately as the judge was clearly a “direct beneficiary” of his own ruling.
Proposition 8, widely approved by California voters, was a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
Although it was reported in some California newspapers during the trial that Walker is homosexual, in an interview with Reuters only days ago he revealed additional details about his personal life.
“Walker had never previously discussed his sexual orientation in the press, but on Wednesday said he was in a 10-year relationship with a physician,” the reporter wrote.
That alarmed legal analysts.
“He is either a direct beneficiary of his ruling in the case, or a person with a close-enough personal interest in the case that his impartiality might reasonably have been questioned,” wrote John C. Eastman, the Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service and a former dean at Chapman University School of Law.
“Not his sexual orientation, which alone would not require recusal, but the possibility that he could directly benefit from his ruling, raised the prospect that recusal may have been warranted,” he wrote in a San Francisco newspaper blog. “If the relationship was such that it gave Walker a financial or other interest in the outcome of the proceeding – and the ability to marry would certainly qualify – recusal would be mandatory and non-waivable.”
Likewise concerned was J. Matt Barber, vice president of Liberty Counsel Action and associate dean at Liberty University School of Law.
“Back in February of 2010 after it became rumored that Judge Vaughn Walker is a practitioner of the homosexual lifestyle and that he has a long-term male lover, I was one of the few people to call for his recusal,” he told WND. “With Judge Walker’s recent admission that he does in fact practice homosexuality, I’ve been proven right. His ruling on the Prop 8 case should be immediately vacated …”
Barber explained that federal law is very clear in that the code of judicial conduct demands a judge remove himself if “the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned” or when he “has a financial … or any other interest that could be affected substantially by the outcome of the proceeding.”
“By manufacturing from thin air a constitutional ‘right’ to same-sex ‘marriage,’ Judge Walker used his position on the bench to create for himself a new privilege that he previously did not have. It’s undeniable that he had an ‘interest that could be affected substantially by the outcome of the proceeding,’” Barber said.
“Based on his own bizarre and contrived legal findings in the case, Judge Walker has now made it possible for both he and his male sexual partner to ‘marry.’ This is an objective rather than a subjective analysis. Case closed,” he said.
Walker’s September 2010 ruling overruled more than seven million voters to banish Proposition 8, which had been approved during the 2008 election.
Walker’s 136-page ruling said, “Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples.”
In his ruling, Walker also arrived at the following highly controversial legal findings:
- “Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.”
- “Rather, the exclusion exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed.”
- “The gender of a child’s parent is not a factor in a child’s adjustment.”
- “The evidence shows beyond any doubt that parents’ genders are irrelevant to children’s developmental outcomes.”
- “Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.”
- “Many of the purported interests identified by proponents are nothing more than a fear or unarticulated dislike of same-sex couples.”
His decision essentially ignored a warning from California Supreme Court Justice Marvin Baxter, who dissented when his court created same-sex “marriage” in the state.
Baxter wrote, “The bans on incestuous and polygamous marriages are ancient and deeprooted, and, as the majority suggests, they are supported by strong considerations of social policy. Our society abhors such relationships, and the notion that our laws could not forever prohibit them seems preposterous. Yet here, the majority overturns, in abrupt fashion, an initiative statute confirming the equally deeprooted assumption that marriage is a union of partners of the opposite sex. The majority does so by relying on its own assessment of contemporary community values, and by inserting in our Constitution an expanded definition of the right to marry that contravenes express statutory law.
“Who can say that, in 10, 15 or 20 years, an activist court might not rely on the majority’s analysis to conclude, on the basis of a perceived evolution in community values, that the laws prohibiting polygamous and incestuous marriages were no longer constitutionally justified?” Baxter wrote.
Eastman noted that he was attacked by homosexual activists when he raised the questions about Walker’s homosexuality and his benefits from his own ruling when the case was developing.
“What had been the biggest open secret in San Francisco back when the trial was going on was now confirmed. Not to the parties in a timely way, as required by federal law, but in a statement by Walker himself to reporters eight months after his decision, 10 months after the final hearing in the case, and more than a year after he conducted the trial,” Eastman wrote.
Insisting that the former judge’s “admission requires that his decision in the case be vacated,” Eastman added: “Gov. Jerry Brown and state Attorney General Kamala Harris (successors in the case to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Brown, respectively) should file the motion post haste. If they remain derelict in their duty to the more than 7 million people of California who voted to adopt Proposition 8, as Brown was last fall when he refused to file a notice of appeal, then the proponents of the initiative, who intervened in the trial court to defend the initiative, should file the motion themselves.”
The Reuters report also explained Walker “never considered” his own homosexuality as a reason to recuse.
“No reasonable person can deny that Judge Walker had a ‘personal bias’ as his decision directly affected him on a very personal level,” Barber said. “At the very least, it’s inarguable that as a ‘closeted’ homosexual, Judge Walker’s involvement in the case created a situation where ‘his impartiality might reasonably be questioned’ should the truth about his sexual attractions and behaviors come to light.
“An honorable man – an honorable judge – should recuse himself from any case even if there is the remote appearance of a conflict. In Judge Walker’s case, the conflict proved to be absolute. His was the textbook example of a conflict of interest requiring recusal. It’s now the textbook example of judicial activism. This outrageous decision must be vacated.”
Meanwhile, another controversy has arisen because Walker, now in private practice, has been using video from the Prop 8 trial arguments in his speeches and presentations, even though the U.S. Supreme Court specifically rejected his plans to have them televised.