Saturday, June 18, 2011

Gay Marriage and Civil Rights

Do we get it yet?! This past week saw the ruling in the Proposition 8 case in California, where now-retired federal judge Vaughn Walker has been challenged in his ruling on the case because he didn't recuse himself as an openly gay person in a long-term relationship. Many commentators in the news stories noted that we are just where we were 30 years ago with respect to African-American and female judges being challenged for not recusing themselves on civil rights and sex discrimination cases. Judges should not be challenge-able on the basis of their membership in a minority group, whether it is based on ethnicity, language, religion, gender, or sexuality or gender identification.

There is a separate little issue running alongside: cameras in the courtroom. How many people have been beaten to death for opposing gay marriage, compared to the number of people beaten to death for being or even appearing to be gay or lesbian or transexual? I would challenge the people concerned about witness protection to come up with anybody who has been seriously injured from the straight side.

Here is a link where you can conveniently find both of Judge Ware's orders, about the recusal and the separate order about the videotapes, and cameras in the courtroom. The site is an organization that is trying to raise money to fund ads around the courthouse in support of the gay marriage side. I am a little bemused that they think this would be affecting the judge's decision. I certainly hope it doesn't work that way! But the site does have convenient images that appear to be true copies of the actual decision in the case.

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