Friday, July 03, 2009

Gay Judge for Boies/Olson Prop 8 Lawsuit?

(U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker. Photo credit: Rick Gerharter Photography.)

Before the security guards let me into the hearing in Judge Vaughn Walker's packed courtroom on the 17th floor of the federal building on Golden Gate Avenue yesterday morning, I read the Bay Area Reporter's story on the case out in the hallway. The point of the hearing was to settle case management issues related to the federal lawsuit challenging Prop 8 filed by superstar lawyers David Boies and Ted Olson, and took less than an hour to conclude.

The moment I saw the photo of Walker in the BAR, my gaydar's bells and whistles went off. Once I was allowed into the courtroom, took a seat and observed Walker in action, I was convinced the judge was a gay man.

His chipper demeanor, and low-key humor that several times set off loud laughter from lawyers and spectators, gave me the feeling Walker would make an excellent entertainer at a gay piano bar for refined mature gentlemen.

Not only that, I also had an incredible sense of elation, being an eyewitness to homo-history in the making and because the bold and radical lawsuit, if successful, would be a giant leap forward for the gay community. For an excellent report on the hearing, read the BAR account.

While I lack solid proof Walker is indeed gay, there are other factors leading me to believe he's gay. I've heard from two respected veteran LGBT community reporters that he is considered "family". One reporter said it in an email, the other mentioned it as fact over the phone.

There's also the matter of none of his biographical info online says anything about a wife. Heck, the SF Chronicle story in 2004 when he ascended to his current position, omitted any reference to his marital status. The omission of marital status is not evidence of gayness, of course, but it sure raises rainbow flags, in my mind, that an unmarried man of his age and stature could be gay.

Regardless of his sexual orientation, I expect Walker will be fair to both sides of this important lawsuit, and will continue to be a judge of scrupulous impartiality.

By the way, if Walker is gay as I believe he is, he wouldn't be the first, or second, gay judge in California to rule on gay marriages.

The first judge was Superior Court Judge James L. Warren, who handled the case of gay marriages performed in San Francisco during 2004, and is grandson of Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren. He was outed as gay in a June 2002 article in San Francisco Magazine.

The second gay jurist to rule on gay marriages was California Supreme Court Justice Carol Corrigan, who was outed in 2006 in the LA Daily News and the Gay and Lesbian Times of San Diego.

When the history of the gay marriage battle in California is written, I expect the role of gay judges to be addressed honestly and without prejudice.

And that history book could be written much sooner than Gay Inc leaders expected, if Boies and Olson are successful in their legal challenge, a success I see as very possible.

Veteran syndicated gay journalist Rex Wockner recently posted a wonderful rant to his blog recently, summarizing the thoughts of many gays, about this bold lawsuit, and fears of Gay Inc:

I've only been saying this (that not letting gays marry violates the U.S. Constitution) to every major gay-rights lawyer that will listen to me for, like, 5 years ...

But the gay-rights lawyers were all like: "Uh, oh no! Time not right! Bad idea. Bad bad bad!" Well, now it's gonna happen anyway ...

Go Olson & Boies. When you win this thing, the entire gay-rights legal establishment is gonna have some explaining to do on why they were such wusses ...

If we lose, which I don't think we will, we just go back again. We lost the SCOTUS sodomy thing the first time, then won it the second time ...

Gays are still getting crapped on. Getting crapped on is not right. Don't sit around and wring your hands about when is the right time to object. Object continuously. You wanna change the world or not?

There's never any time like the present.
The Boies and Olson lawsuit is a real game-changer, and we gays should be thankful for this.


Notorious Kelly said...

funny how being gay is something you can be "accused' of, like a crime.

The reason for this is people, even those who consider themselves 'accepting', still wanna look down their noses at Someone.

that's why they need to 'know.'

that's why it can't be as private as Their sex lives.

David said...

What people do in the privacy of their homes is their business. I find it incredulous that a Federal Judge can be "outed" by inuendo and rumor.