Effort to void Prop 8 decision fails in California. Supporters of same sex marriage ban argued Judge should have disqualified himself because he was involved in a same sex relationship

By Eliza

Jun 14, 2011 5:31pm

ABC News' Ariane de Vogue (@arianedevogue) reports: 

A federal judge in California has denied a request from supporters of Proposition 8 to void a  decision that  struck down the controversial ballot initiative.  

Known as “Prop 8” the ballot initiative defines marriage as being between a man and a woman and was approved by voters in 2008. But two years later U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker struck down the marriage ban calling it unconstitutional.

After ruling on the case Walker retired and  revealed publicly that he was involved in a long term same sex relationship, but he never said whether he intended at any point to marry his partner.

Supporters of Prop 8 filed a motion arguing that Walker should have disqualified himself from the case because he had an interest in its outcome.

Today, James Ware,  U.S. District Chief Judge for the Northern District of California upheld Walker’s ruling and said “The sole fact that a federal judge shares the same circumstances or personal characteristics with other members of the general public, and that the judge could be affected by the outcome of a proceeding in the same way that other members of the general public would be affected, is not a basis for either recusal or disqualification”.

In a 21 page ruling Ware said, “The single characteristic that Judge Walker shares with the Plaintiffs, albeit one that might not have been shared with the majority of Californians, gave him no greater interest in a proper decision on the merits than would exist for any other judge or citizen.”

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