Same sex marriage is an extremely controversial issue in this country. And nowhere is this controversy more acute than in California where voters passed Proposition 8 in 2008, banning same sex marriages within the state. Opponents of the move challenged its legitimacy in court, and the case eventually found itself before Judge Vaughn Walker. After Walker struck down Prop 8, a group appealed the decision based on Walker’s subsequent disclosure that he himself was gay and involved in a long-term same-sex relationship. They contend that this represented a conflict of interest for Walker and that he should have recused himself from the case.
Okay, I understand that at first glance this appears to be a case where the coach of your favorite baseball team is allowed to umpire the game, while the fans of the opposing team voice their disapproval in the stands. What I don’t understand is how the outcome is any different if the opposing team’s coach is allowed a turn at umpire. How is he any less biased? And I don’t hear anyone in the media (other than Jon Stewart) illuminating this issue, either, which is frustrating.
But unlike our hypothetical baseball game, where the obvious alternative is to seek out a coach from a third team that has no vested interest in the outcome, there is no impartial third party that is neither homosexual nor heterosexual. To the best of my knowledge, there are no asexual judges that would be immune from the accusations of bias, so we’re stuck with accepting the ruling of an individual whose job it is to render objective decisions. After all, that is what we pay judges for, isn’t it?