SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - 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. 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