Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Salon: Is Judge Vaughn Walker Really Gay?

(Vaughn Walker, left, dining at a Castro area restaurant in May, with AIDS org executive Brett Andrews, a platonic pal. Photo credit: Petrelis Files.)

Tracy Clark-Forey has an essay posted today at Salon about the widespread reporting on what many believe to be the gay orientation of Judge Vaughn Walker, the man who ruled last week that California's Prop 8 anti gay marriage ban was unconstitutional.

What's unique in the piece is how the writer compares the many articles and views regarding Walker potentially being gay, versus the discussion surrounding questions of Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's sexual orientation.

Let's go to excerpts:

Considering the mainstream media's cautious treatment of the rumors surrounding Elena Kagan's sexuality, you have to wonder what's different here. Why is Walker's sexuality talked about and reported on with such certainty?

The story begins long before the Chronicle ran its blind item. Last summer, local gay activist Michael Petrelis published a blog post announcing that his "gaydar's bells and whistles went off" when he saw a photo of Walker. After getting a chance to watch the judge live and in-person behind the bench, he was convinced.

Who else in our community thinks like me on this matter? A prominent lesbian legal eagle also believes Walker is a gay man:

Jenny Pizer, the National Marriage Project director for Lambda Legal, used to live in San Francisco and knew Walker, but only professionally. "A number of people have told me that they have [socialized with Walker] and that in recent years he has brought a same-sex partner to professional or social events," she told Salon. "Enough people have said that that I have the impression that it's true."

What sort of digging do I do to satisfy my curiosity and attempt to find any hint in the public record of a same-sex partnership for Walker?

Petrelis went so far as to look up the deed for Walker's house at City Hall, on the off-chance that it was in the name of another man, but no such luck.

Also weighing in on the public and media discussions on Walker and Kagan's gayness and lesbianism is a stalwart of the Bay Area's gay marriage effort:

Molly McKay, media director for Marriage Equality USA, said she was offended to hear someone refer to the "smear campaign" surrounding Elena Kagan's sexuality. "As a lesbian person, it's like, hey, what's the smear? Being gay, there's nothing derogatory about it," she said.

I'm holding out hope that Walker one day, and sooner rather than later, consents to an extensive interview about Perry vs. Schwarzenegger, the parties involved, his judicial thinking, and his sexual orientation.

1 comment:

DavidEhrenstein said...

That's not in the cards, Michael As a judge he can't personalize his decisions -- regardless of sexual orientation.