A bit of good legal news this evening; Chief US District Judge James Ware found that the Prop 8 decision did not have to be over turned merely because retired Judge Vaughn Walker happens to be gay and in a decade long committed relationship.
The haters and forces of intolerance thought that they might be able to throw a Hail Mary pass (just a side note, it is called a Hail Mary pass because you loft it so high and so far that you have time to say the Hail Mary prayer before it gets to the receiver. See? Who says you never learn anything in my posts?) and see if they could not get the whole court case thrown out, including the damning and damaging findings fact in the decision that declared the law unconstitutional.
Judge Ware was having none of this in his ruling. He wrote:
The fact that a federal judge shares a fundamental characteristic with a litigant, or shares membership in a large association such as a religion, has been categorically rejected by federal courts as a sole basis for requiring a judge to recuse her or himself,”
I think that pretty much says it all. If the Judge had found for the anti-marriage equality folks it would have opened a can of worms like you can not believe. Women judges would not be able to hear gender discrimination law suits, Latino judges would be barred from hearing immigration cases involving other Latino’s and the list goes on and on.
The assumption here is that just because you are part of the group that does not mean that you can not rule impartially on the evidence presented to you. And that is a standard we should be happy with. Juries do it all the time, and there is no reason why a judge should not be able to do the same. Especially when you have a discrimination case like the Prop 8 one.
By finding that Judge Walker not disclosing his status as a gay man was not an issue in the case the desperation move by the Prop 8 supporters met an ignominious demise. As, I suspect, they are going to get again and again in this pursuit of enshrining unreasoning bigotry in the law. The next thing that is likely to make them unhappy is the fact that they probably will be denied standing in this case.
That would be a good and bad thing. It would be good because it would mean that Prop 8 would be overturned in California and gay couples would be able to marry just like everyone else. The bad side of it is that it would not reach the Supreme Court. The Justices are going to be hard pressed to overturn the findings of fact and with them there is clearly no reason for any kind of ban on same sex marriage. A finding like that would mean that all the bans on same sex marriage would be overturned, at once.
It would also over turn DOMA in one fell swoop because the same language in that law is in almost all of the bans in the States. We should never forget that the ultimate goal here is not to just get gay couples in California marriage rights but all gay couples anywhere in the United States.
Still in long fights we should celebrate any victory that comes our way. So tonight is a good night, the law is working the way it is supposed to work and the bigots got a newspaper across the nose for being idiots.
What is on your minds tonight Firedogs? The floor is yours!