Vaughn Walker
10 min

The slow strangulation of Prop 8

There are two kinds of people in California: those who
support gay marriage and those who don’t.

The latter were dealt a heavy blow on Tuesday, June 14, when
a federal judge dismissed a request to void a decision that struck down the
controversial ballot initiative, Proposition 8.

Defining marriage as being
between a man and a woman, Prop 8 rose its ugly head in 2008 after San
Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom directed the city-county clerk to issue marriage
licences to same-sex couples.

His decision was a winner with the gays. On the first day of
same-sex marriage being legal, hundreds of couples lined up in front of city
hall, ready to tie the knot.

Those who disagreed decided to pursue another
legal route — Proposition 8. Voters approved it in November 2008, and the freedom to
marry for same-sex couples came to an abrupt end just months after it began.

Two years later, US District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker struck down
the marriage ban, calling it unconstitutional.

After ruling on the case, Walker retired and revealed that
he was involved in a long-term relationship with another man.

That news riled up the Prop 8 supporters, who filed a motion
arguing that Walker should have recused himself from the case because he had an
interest in the outcome. That said, he has never revealed
whether he intended to marry.

In the latest decision, District Judge James Ware said, “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."

Supporters of gay marriage can breathe a sigh of relief —
but not for long.

An article in the Washington Blade says that proponents of Prop 8 are not prepared to
let the matter be dropped and that they will appeal the decision to a higher
court.

“Our legal team will appeal this decision and continue our
tireless efforts to defend the will of the people of California to preserve
marriage as the union of a man and a woman,” said Charles Cooper of Cooper
& Kirk, lead counsel for protectmarriage.com.

The sad thing is that even though Ware upheld Walker’s
decision, the case remains pending on appeal, and Prop 8 remains in effect. The
California State Supreme Court is to evaluate whether proponents of Prop 8 can
appeal the case.

Bookmark and Share