A federal judge on Tuesday ruled that a gay judge’s sexual orientation was not a valid reason to overturn his decision that California’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.
Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware ruled that the court’s former chief judge, Vaughn Walker, was under no obligation to divulge whether he wanted to marry his same-sex partner before he struck down Proposition 8 last year, the Associated Press reports.
“The presumption that Judge Walker, by virtue of being in a same-sex relationship, had a desire to be married that rendered him incapable of making an impartial decision is as warrantless as the presumption that a female judge is incapable of being impartial in a case in which women seek legal relief,’’ Ware wrote.
Ware’s ruling is a victory for gay marriage advocates, but it does not settle the legal fight over Proposition 8, the 2008 voter initiative banning gay marriage in California.
A U.S. Court of Appeals is considering whether Walker properly concluded that preventing gays and lesbians from marrying violates their rights to due process and equal protection.