Before gay marriage foes filed their first brief to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seeking to restore Proposition 8, both parties agreed to open up the matter to amicus curiae briefs.
Who would have the first say? A guy named Robert Wooten who wastes no time in making things personal, at least for Northern District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker, who in August delivered the landmark ruling calling Prop 8 unconstitutional.
“If the allegation that Judge Walker is a homosexual is true, [then] he has a personal interest in the outcome of the trial” and should have recused himself, the brief states.
And with that, the speculation over Walker’s sexual orientation is now apparently for the first time part of the court record.
Walker has not discussed his orientation publicly. And for the duration of the Prop 8 trial, the parties had stayed away from the topic — at least inside the courtroom.
So will the judge’s personal life be relevant in the appeal? One of the chief opponents of the ban thinks not.
“It’s a ridiculous issue,” says San Francisco Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart, who said it’s like saying a black judge shouldn’t preside over cases involving discrimination or race or a female judge hearing gender issues.
Wooten, who provides no address, phone number or indication of group affiliation in his two-page, typo-laden brief, says homosexuality is a “moral issue” of public interest, which “negates the requirement of ‘standing’ in the matter.”