Hearing set on motion aimed at gay marriage ruling

AP News
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Posted: Apr 27, 2011 7:45 PM
Hearing set on motion aimed at gay marriage ruling

A June 13 hearing has been scheduled on whether a ruling that struck down California's gay marriage ban should be thrown out because the judge is in a same-sex relationship.

Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware said Wednesday he was fast-tracking the motion involving his retired predecessor, former Chief Judge Vaughn Walker.

Lawyers for the sponsors of the voter-approved ban asked Ware to vacate Walker's August 2010 decision overturning the ban as a violation of gay Californians' civil rights.

Backers of Proposition 8 said Walker should have recused himself or disclosed his relationship status before trial to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

The judge, who left the bench at the end of February, recently revealed that he has been in a relationship with the same man for 10 years, but said he never considered removing himself from the case.

Sponsors of the ban also have contested Walker's use of a recorded segment from the Proposition 8 trial in talks he's been giving on the history of cameras in courtrooms.

They contend that by airing the trial videos publicly, the former judge is violating his own order sealing the recordings.

They are seeking an order requiring Walker to return his copy and barring future airings.

On Wednesday, an appeals court reviewing the larger constitutional issues involved in denying gays and lesbians the right to wed in California transferred that request to Ware.