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Calif. Judge Rules Against Prop 8 Supporters

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A California judge has ruled against anti-marriage forces and thrown out their motion to vacate a decision against the group which was made by a gay judge.

According to the Associated Press, Chief Judge James Ware decided that the previous judge’s status as a partnered gay man did not disqualify him to make a decision invalidating the anti-gay legislation.  Judge Vaughn Walker, who retired this year, has since come out and declared his support for gay marriage.

“Disqualifying Judge Walker based on an inference that he intended to take advantage of a future legal benefit made available by constitutional protections would result in an unworkable standard for disqualification,” Ware stated in his judgement.

By assuming that Walker could not be impartial “is inconsistent with what is required under a reasonableness standard,” he added.

“[The notion 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,” he wrote. “On the contrary: it is reasonable to presume that a female judge or a judge in a same-sex relationship is capable of rising above any personal predisposition and deciding such a case on the merits.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights said in a press release that the decision is “a defeat for extremists who seek to re-design the judicial system based on stereotypes and prejudice instead of facts and rule of law.”

“This is a powerful ruling that makes clear that gay and lesbian judges are entitled to the same presumptions of fairness and impartiality as all other federal judges and that rejects the false and  unreasonable assumptions and stereotypes that the Proposition 8 Proponents asserted in this deeply offensive motion,” said AFER attorney Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr.

Ware said that society should support the rights of minorities.

“In our society, a variety of citizens of different backgrounds coexist because we have constitutionally bound ourselves to protect the fundamental rights of one another from being violated by unlawful treatment,” he said.  “Thus, we all have an equal stake in a case that challenges the constitutionality of a restriction on a fundamental right.”

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