Many California lawyers have told me of rumors that Judge Vaughn Walker, who is hearing Perry v. Schwarzenegger, is gay, but so discreet that there was no substantiation of it. Now the SF Chronicle has published an article discussing this "biggest open secret" of the case. I had worried that the Prop 8 defenders would wait until some critical moment in the litigation - perhaps on appeal - and then pop this news as a basis for undercutting Judge Walker's decision, if it turns out to favor the plaintiffs.
In my view, it's good news that Judge Walker's sexual orientation is now public (even if still not really substantiated). I wonder, in fact, if the plaintiffs' lawyers facilitated the Chronicle's report. The reporters of course contacted defendants' lawyers for comment, and received this response from Andy Pugno, counsel for the Yes on 8 team:
"We are not going to say anything about that," Pugno said. He was quick to assert, however, that Prop. 8 backers haven't gotten a fair shake from Walker in court. He cited both the judge's order for the campaign to turn over thousands of pages of internal memos to the other side and Walker's decision to allow the trial to be broadcast - both of which were overturned by higher courts.
"In many ways, the sponsors of Prop. 8 have been put at significant disadvantage throughout the case," Pugno said. "Regardless of the reason for it."