Monday, June 13, 2011

OneAngryAlly: Don't Judge The Judge

Note from your editor:  I'd like to introduce my newest contributor, Sarah N., who will be posting sporadically as OneAngryAlly-- because shit doesn't just piss off us queers, but our allies as well.  She is going to help out while I'm at Netroots and will lend her unique perspective to OAQ.  Though if she starts jawing your ear off about responsible food choices and why eating beans and rice is better than the steak I'm having for lunch, feel free to tune her out.  Vegans.  Ha.

Hello! I am Sarah N., and this is my first post for you lovely readers. Ian Awesome will undoubtedly write some sort of introduction for me, but suffice it to say I'm a straight, close friend of Ian's (I know, right?) who rivals him in awesomeness level (but I certainly don't surpass it). I'll be writing about issues that enrage and engage queer and non-queer alike, attempting to give my spin on things. I live in Ohio, so there'll often be opportunity for me to give y'all an update on things that piss me off in Midwest politics (and trust me, there's a lot). So, I hope you enjoy!

Today, however, we go to San Francisco for the news, where the continuing Prop 8 melodrama takes another turn. As you'll recall, Prop 8, which was passed back in the '08 elections and banned same-sex marriage in the state of California, in August 2010 was overturned in Federal District Court in San Francisco. Now, proponents of this biased initiative are crying foul about another element of the case: Vaughan Walker, the now-retired judge who ruled on the case, is himself a gay man.

"'Judge Walker's 10-year same-sex relationship creates this unavoidable impression that he was just not the impartial judge that the law requires,' says Andrew Pugno, one of the attorneys defending Proposition 8. Pugno says the issue here isn't Judge Walker's sexual orientation — not exactly — but rather that his relationship left him in the same shoes as two same-sex couples who wanted to get married."

Why? Because striking down Prop 8 might open the door for more freedoms in the judge's own life? Because, after two decades on the bench, where, you know, his entire job was to be impartial and leave his own self-interests out of the picture, Walker would suddenly drop all of that "fair and balanced" nonsense to further an agenda?

The implications for these accusations are chilling. Does this mean that, as a woman, I couldn't rule on a case involving my right to have an abortion? That as a native Oregonian, I couldn't preside fairly over a case involving Oregon's medical marijuana or assisted-suicide laws, because those could *gasp* give me, personally, greater rights and freedoms?

Does this mean that, as a human being, I would be unable to rule on this very case? The results and implications of so purposely antagonizing an issue as Prop 8 reflect on every one of us as humans.

Attorney Ray Marshall of the California Bar Association makes a similar comparison:

"Marshall notes that one of the landmark cases in civil rights history — Brown v. the Board of Education desegregating public schools in the 1950s — was decided unanimously by an all-white Supreme Court."

"'The presumption was that of course nine judges — all white men — will read the Constitution and make the decision fairly,' Marshall says."

Prop 8 supporters: Face it; you lost. Take your hatred and bigotry elsewhere. Or, better yet, step out of your self-imposed bubble of self-interest and allow others the chance to love and live as they so desire.

'Til next time, cheers!


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