Guess Who’s Gay? Judge Walker of the Prop 8 Same-Sex Marriage Trial!

JUDGMENT DAZE: Our Mancrush of ’10 (second only to Adam Lambert), Judge Vaughn Walker, is 100% homo! Why do we always fall for the gay ones? I mean I think we said at least five times that we wanted to marry him during our epic Prop 8 Trial recaps.

As reported by The San Francisco Chronicle:

The biggest open secret in the landmark trial over same-sex marriage being heard in San Francisco is that the federal judge who will decide the case, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, is himself gay.

Many gay politicians in San Francisco and lawyers who have had dealings with Walker say the 65-year-old jurist, appointed to the bench by President George H.W. Bush in 1989, has never taken pains to disguise – or advertise – his orientation.

Oh boy, we’ll see how the other side reacts to this (they’ve yet to make a statement). Though I gotta say; honestly, that’s how life is. The fact that the judge is gay is in a way proof of our point — we’re everywhere, and sometimes we’re going to be the ones deciding our fate, not you. Also this makes me forgive every time he let something be discussed that was irriating.  The fact that a gay man is in this position of power to make this decision is just as fair as the fact that the entire Supreme Court of the US is hetero. Right? Mostly I am scared about what maggie g is going to say; or worse that she’s known all along and the counter-attack is heading our way.

However Andy Pugno, general counsel for the Prop 8 Team, says, “”We are not going to say anything about that,” though he was eager to point out that his team had not gotten a fair shake in court. (@sanfranchronicle)

Now, a gay cruise heading into the Bahamas on the Norwiegan Sky is being criticized for its planned ports during the April journey:

“Neither I nor Miami Beach Gay Pride are blind to the fact that homophobia exists in the Bahamas,” Sharon Kersten, a Source Events spokesperson, told EDGE in e-mail. “Perhaps we can be part of the solution, rather than punishing an entire nation for the fears and heinous acts of a small portion of the population.”

She pointed out that, unlike the U.S., the Bahamas is among many countries that allow gays to serve openly in the military and an organization has been working to fight discrimination since 1999 without government interference.

HIGHER ED: “NYT finds heartbreak at female-dominated campuses, where women must suffer the pain of George Clooney films alone.” (@salon)

GAY FAMS: Beye Elementary School in Oak Park, Illinois, a diversity-embracing, socially progressive and upper-middle-class suburb of Chicago, is under fire for hiring an expert to make their school safe for children from gay & lesbian families by battling hateful language such as “that’s so gay”:

After some letters appeared on the Illinois Family Institute Web site and in local weeklies, dozens of people showed up for a Beye PTO meeting last month. The meeting was largely cordial, but a letter voicing moral disapproval of gay families and of the issue being raised at the elementary level sent a gay high school student crying from the room.

Brown, who read the letter, said she felt terrible that her words upset the teen.

“I went home and cried,” Brown said. “I cried about the high school student. I wish I had said to him, ‘This might hurt you. You might like to leave.’ I cried because Beye had a great family feel. I’ve had friendships with lesbians and gays. Now people will see us disagreeing as, ‘You hate us.'”

Sarah Durbin, who is lesbian, attended the PTO meeting and was disturbed by the letter.

“You can’t have your cake and eat it too,” she said. “You can’t say, ‘I think you’re immoral, but I like you, too.'”

SEX ED: Is it possible to do abstinence-based sex ed right? (@nytimes)

THE SPORT: Celebrating in New Orleans after Super Bowl win: “…the city descended on Bourbon Street. New Orleanians, as a general rule, do not like to go there. It is a tourist trap, too crowded and cheap. But on Sunday night it was a beating, living, pulsating mass of people, like a capital city of some country after a dictator has been overthrown.” (@nytimes)

TIM TEBOW: The Tim Tebow ad was tame last night without any overarching anti-choice message. But the URL at the end — an almost surefire go-to for such an oblique advertisement — was the kicker. Here, Jezebel investigates the real Tim Tebow ad. (@jezebel)

Also BTW today is Autostraddle Executive Editor Laneia’s Birthday!

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3182 articles for us.



    Also, I would have cried too. I, despite my Autostraddle-Jen cool, am actually very shy and sensitive in real life, and when people say shit like “You’re immoral and you don’t belong”, I get hurt. When people would rather I be tormented by my classmates than risk their kids having to learn about OMG TEH GHEY, I get hurt. This quote: “You can’t have your cake and eat it too,” she said. “You can’t say, ‘I think you’re immoral, but I like you, too.’” Was completely right on. Don’t tell me you love me as long as I never get to be with someone I really love and care for.

    • air signs i LOSE. i was going to go into this thing about aquarius and water but someone asked me a question and i lost it and that is why i shouldn’t AS and work at the same time.

  2. I don’t really see how they can say much about judge Walker. Saying that he would be directly influenced by the outcome while a straight judge wouldn’t, would just make them look really, really stupid (I mean, that’s what we’ve been saying all along)…
    + Laneia: ♥

  3. I’m from N.O. and we do like to go into the French Quarter from time to time, it’s good for shopping (flea market), sitting down for beignets at the Cafe du Monde, etc. Oh and GEAUX SAINTS!

    • +I don’t think Bush the elder considered the peter-pulling performance of the Judge before appointing him. How would I know you were homosexual or Baptist uhless you told me? It would be kind of shallow to base a decision on whether you chewed Juicy Fruit or Dentyne gum, especially if it involved major decisions the person may make on another’s life. Now the judge tries to push the Homosexual agenda. That ‘s like the Morman trying to force me to believe as he does and accept his god and the angels Joseph Smith discovered with the golden tablets and won’t let anyone else view, or examine. I can invent my own religion that benefits only me and no one else will be allowed into Heaven without my approval. But now Homo-Haven is man made and they want to push it on to everyone else to validate it.

  4. OMG, that story about the PTA meeting makes my heart hurt. The parent was upset because she didn’t tell the student to leave the room before reading her hateful letter?? Are you kidding me? How can she not see that her WORDS THEMSELVES are the problem?! The hypocrisy, it burns. That poor high school girl. I wanna give her a hug!

    I hope people don’t try to argue for a mistrial based on the judge being gay. Probs they will, though. Ugh.


    • Exactly what I thought! I cannot believe she said she cried over the student because she didn’t ask her to leave the room and not because she hurt her emotionally.

  5. I knew he was too cool to be true. This worries me, I know the h8ers will say something about this, they may have been planning to all along. Oh man. I’m worried. They can’t take him off for being gay, right? (Note I should not have to ask this question, we should already be protected from discrimination knowingly.)

    • No, they can’t take him off for being gay.

      The H8ers response?

      “In a story this Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Prop 8 Judge Vaughn Walker is gay and called his orientation ‘the biggest open secret in the landmark trial over same-sex marriage.’ We have no idea whether the report is true or not.

      But we do know one really big important fact about Judge Walker: He’s been an amazingly biased and one-sided force throughout this trial, far more akin to an activist than a neutral referee …”


      Yes, dear H8ers, the Judge has been biased: he has expressed a distinct preferences for actual facts and actual experts. Shocking though it may be, sometimes that’s the way the world works.

      • yes, it would seem that whenever the balance leans our weigh, someone is biased. so weird. we’re not the ones putting our religious affiliations out there as evidence for our side, they are, and that in and of itself seems like the most biased method possible.

      • Ah, a bit of relief. He wasn’t behaving with much bias, if anything he was probably just tired of the bullshit they were bringing to the courtroom, for lack of better words. So should I not be so worried?

        P.S. Sexy Lawyer Jessica keeps coming to the rescue and I’m enjoying the storyline.

      • What about the appeal? Assuming we win, could they argue that it was wrong because of Walkers “bias”? Or would that be too ad hominem to fly in the courts?

        • Although Judge Walker’s sexual orientation certainly could come up on appeal, I doubt the argument would gain any traction.

          Boise and Olson are brilliant attorneys, and I have to assume that if they believed this to be a problem, they’d have asked Judge Walker to recuse himself (meaning they’d have asked him to take himself off the case).

          Judges are expected to recuse themselves when the circumstances are such that they can’t render an unbiased decision or when their impartiality might be questioned. When they have a personal or financial interest in the case, they’re expected to not participate in decisions.

          But this only happens infrequently — judges are generally presumed to be neutral, and the circumstances have to be pretty significant to warrant recusal. (For example/perspective, consider that last year only 5 of 9 Supreme Court Justices ruled that a Judge needed to recuse himself in a case where one of the parties had contributed $3 million to his election campaign).

          For a relevant comparison to prior case law, I’d direct you here:

          The author quotes from a relevant (though not controlling) case from the Civil Rights Era, where attorneys sought to have a judge disqualified from the case, because she “strongly identified with those who suffered discrimination in employment because of sex or race” (read: she was African-American and female).

          As the judge pointed out: “If background or sex or race of each judge were, by definition, sufficient grounds for removal, no judge on this court could hear this case, or many others, by virtue of the fact that all of them were attorneys, of a sex…” Accordingly, she did not recuse herself and as far as I can tell, the decision stands.

          In comparison — this case affects the definition of marriage. That affects everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. If one person were forced to recuse himself based on sexual orientation, it would seem that no one would be qualified to hear the case because everyone has a sexual orientation.

        • And a follow up, pulled from comments of the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, which questioned whether Judge Walker’s sexual orientation should be a relevant consideration (

          “This article perpetuates the notion that straight white people are neutral and dispassionate, whereas everyone else is biased in favor of their own kind.”

          A nice and succinct way of illustrating the absurdity of any argument against his impartiality.

  6. First happy birthday laneia!


    dear autostraddle,
    thanks for being amazing and having nsfw Sunday that leaves me drooling and then intellectual things dealing with issues us non-straight folk face.
    Gay judges = great. Crying teens = heartbreaking. Where’s the love PTO? I also think that some people talk about gays as being immoral because if your gay all you do is have sex with whatever homo is in a 50 ft. radius (yeh the idea sounds kinda fun) but no just as many relationships based on all that good stuff like love, honesty, and trust. And oh yeh sex is great too.

    End of random thoughts. My love affair with autostraddle has no chance of ending! :-)


    I think Alex said it best about Judge Walker – “hahaomglolz WE WIN”

  8. wow that’s an enormous photo of me THANK YOU FOR THE BIRTHDAY WISHES, AUTOSTRADDLE! you’ve made my day lovely. quite! i enjoy you!



  9. Happy Birthday Laneia, also you are hot. Also Judge Walker is a gay, and hot Laneia whose birthday it is, and Autostraddle, and me too. All are gay. This is such a good day!

  10. The only heartbreak at MY female-dominated campus was when Hartford, senior captain of the rugby team, left her girlfriend of three years for a gorgeous young frosh with pin-up proclivities and every single person on campus desperately wished she could swap places with one or the other of them. Damn they were such a hot couple.

  11. Right, the thing Jessica said about judges having to recuse themselves if they have some sort of vested intrest:
    ‘Judges are expected to recuse themselves when the circumstances are such that they can’t render an unbiased decision or when their impartiality might be questioned. When they have a personal or financial interest in the case, they’re expected to not participate in decisions.’

    *So if — a gay judge should recuse himself because he has a reason for the case going one way

    *Then — a straight judge should recuse himself for having a reason for the case going the other way way

    *But if a straight judge shouldn’t be recused — then that means they don’t have a reason for the case going the other way??


  12. It seems to me time is going to resolve the gay issue. As the older generation, that was raised with bigotry, segregation, and racism dies off but the younger generation that have been raised in a diverse community become leaders,all the discriminatory laws will be struck down.Just take a poll of 20 somethings and I’m sure the vast majority will see this as wrong. But if you take a poll of 60 year old white guys – most of them would say it’s right. Time will tell.

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