Anti-gay bigots misstep

Anti-gay bigots are making a stink about the judge who struck down Prop 8 in California. They’re arguing that he should have recused himself or at least disclosed that he is in a long-term relationship with another man:

“Only if Chief Judge Walker had unequivocally disavowed any interest in marrying his partner could the parties and the public be confident that he did not have a direct personal interest in the outcome of the case,” attorneys for the coalition of religious and conservative groups that put Proposition 8 on the November 2008 ballot wrote.

Saying Walker’s sexual orientation is cause for vacating his ruling would be like saying a black judge who rules in favor of other black people is acting improperly. I don’t think this argument will fly, especially since the ruling is being appealed anyway.

But that isn’t what’s really interesting about this. Look at the argument the bigots are trying to piece together. The only way the public could be confident of Walker’s impartiality is if “he did not have a direct personal interest in the outcome of the case”. And, of course, the reason they claim he has a direct personal interest is because he’s gay. So I presume a straight judge doesn’t have a direct personal interest in the matter? So if the only way a judge would have no personal interest in this case is if he was straight, then how is it that any straight people have any personal interest? It seems to me that the bigot organizations just argued that straight people have no legitimate personal interests to raise when dealing with gay marriage.

But then, I don’t really expect any coherent arguments from these sort of people.

8 Responses

  1. Well they do have a point Michael. The question in my mind is: can any judge really be completely impartial?

    I think not, so I couldn’t care less whether he should have recused himself or not, no more than I expect Justice Thomas to recuse himself when the individual mandate comes to the high court.

    This sort of thing is no where near the type of recusal we rightly demand when a judge takes his or her self off of a case involving a company they own stock in, for example.

  2. I agree with you Nate, except the part where you say they have a point. They don’t because of the last sentence in your comment.

  3. No judge, whether male, female, bi, or transgender can be impartial when it comes to a matter of sexual identity. They should be impartial when it comes to the legal merits of the case at hand.

  4. Bob, I only meant that they have a point that the judge was no doubt somewhat impartial. It’s just my view that he was likely no more so than any other judge.

    Obviously if they have a clear cut financial win/loss involved they are not impartial, this isn’t one of those cases, whether I agree with the ruling or not.

  5. Somewhat partial*

  6. Perhaps the rule should be: ONLY Eunuchs are in a fair position to offer rulings on matters such as these. IF a eunuch is unavailable, a hermaphrodite will be acceptable.

    If neither a eunuch OR a hermaphrodite is available, a high functioning and confirmed bachelor chimp will have to suffice.

  7. But NOT a bonobo, because, well, we know how bonobos swing…

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