(Adds comment from lawyer for plaintiffs)
SAN FRANCISCO, June 27 Supporters of
California's gay marriage ban are appealing a ruling that a
U.S. judge's own gay relationship was no basis for tossing out
his decision in support of same-sex marriage.
U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco last
year struck down California's same-sex marriage ban, known as
Proposition 8. He later openly discussed his own gay
relationship after retiring from the bench earlier this year.
Supporters of the ban now say his ruling was compromised
and should be vacated. But Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware
disagreed earlier this month, ruling that granting such a
request would send a message that minority judges could not
rule in civil rights cases.
Attorneys for ProtectMarriage.com, the anti-gay marriage
group defending California's ban, said in court papers filed
late last week that they would appeal Ware's decision.
They did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Matthew McGill, an attorney for two same-sex couples
challenging the ban, said ProtectMarriage.com had been clear
that they would continue a "smear campaign" against Walker.
"The only thing surprising about this development is doing
so in the face of such a well-reasoned opinion," McGill said.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a same-sex marriage
bill into law on Friday, making New York the sixth and most
populous U.S. state to allow gay marriage. [ID:nN1E75N1XJ] It
is also legal in the District of Columbia.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is already
considering the constitutional issues surrounding gay marriage
and has asked the California Supreme Court to weigh in on one
point of state law.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of
California is Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 09-2292.
(Reporting by Dan Levine; editing by Anthony Boadle)