Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Prop 8 case: Judge Walker is Gay -- Does That Affect His Judgement?

Debra Saunders writes an excellent editorial today in the SF Chronicle about Prop 8 presiding Judge Walker's sexual identity that might cause partisans on both sides to accuse him of prejudice in this California gay rights case.

As I read her editorial about the "biggest open secret" in the landmark case, I waited for her to mention, on the other hand, the aspect that makes this entirely paradoxical: If Walker should consider recusing himself because he's a gay man in a case about gay rights -- wouldn't a straight judge be equally open to accusations that his straight orientation could affect his legal judgement?

Think of this not as a case about gay rights, but as a case about sexual orientation rights, and the paradox might become clearer. By definition, it seems to me, there is nobody who could be considered a neutral judge here -- except maybe a castrati. (Kidding.) 

Michael "Mac" McCarthy

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