As we've documented, National Review Online blogger Ed Whelan and other supporters of California's ban on same-sex marriage seek to vacate Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling striking down that ban on the grounds that Walker is gay. At the same time, Whelan continues to pretend that Walker's sexual orientation is not the issue. The real problem, Whelan says, is that Walker is in a long-term same-sex relationship and therefore may want to marry his partner.
He makes this distinction because, as legal ethicists nearly universally agree, as numerous newspaper editorials and commentators have argued, and as Whelan himself acknowledges, it would be problematic to say a judge must be disqualified from the case simply because of his or her sexual orientation.
Now, in response to a brief filed by opponents of California's same-sex marriage ban, Whelan has sunk to a new low, defending his position by saying that a gay judge assigned to a case on same-sex marriage must either disclose "intimate details" about his or her personal life or silently reassign the case to another judge.
In a May 8 post on Big Government, Larry O'Connor* mocked a recent "slutwalk" protest in Boston. The rally originated as a way to protest a Toronto official who suggested that women could avoid being sexually assaulted by not "dressing like sluts." The protests featured anti-rape, anti-sexism slogans described by O'Connor as "snappy little chants." From Big Government:
From the Associated Press:Holding signs and chanting "We love sluts!" approximately 2,000 protesters marched Saturday in Boston, as the city officially become the latest to join an international series of protests against sexism and rape, known as "SlutWalks."
As with any of these organized marches drummed up by the left, the protesters were supplied with list of snappy little chants to scream at the top of their lungs. A little on-line investigation uncovered the chants. Aren't they clever:
*This post has been updated to correct the spelling of Larry O'Connor's name. Media Matters regrets the error.
National Review Online blogger Ed Whelan is pretending that the move to vacate Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling striking down California's ban on same-sex marriage is not based on Walker's sexual orientation. Whelan's argument is not only illogical, it fails to account for the right-wing slogan "if the judge ain't straight, you must vacate," which was coined by the head of Liberty Counsel, a prominent same-sex marriage opponent.
Whelan repeatedly argues that, in the words of one of his posts, "Prop 8 proponents do not base their motion on the fact that Walker 'is gay,' but on the fact that he is in a long-term same-sex relationship." It is extremely important for Whelan to make this distinction because legal ethicists nearly universally agree that Walker's sexual orientation is not grounds for recusal as have numerous newspaper editorials and commentators. And Whelan himself has said that "a judge's personal characteristics don't generally provide a basis for recusal."
However, Whelan's argument that the issue isn't Walker's sexual orientation falls flat.
Whelan has acknowledged that "there is 'no evidence' of Walker's specific intentions" about whether to marry or not. His recusal argument is based solely on surmises based on the length of Walker's relationship. However, Whelan never explains how long a same-sex relationship must be before it requires that the judge step aside. Nor does he explain why--based on his logic--a gay judge who definitely wants to marry but who hasn't yet found the right person should not also be disqualified.
Indeed, the threshold question a judge must answer in Whelan's view is not whether a judge is in a long-term relationship but whether the judge is gay. Under Whelan's theory, a judge presiding over a same-sex marriage case would seemingly have to disclose his sexual orientation and then subject himself or herself to a series of probing questions about whether the judge is in a relationship, how long that relationship has been going on, and whether the judge is really the committing type.
C-SPAN is a public service created by the American cable television industry: To provide C-SPAN's audience access to the live gavel-to-gavel proceedings of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and to other forums where public policy is discussed, debated and decided -- all without editing, commentary or analysis and with a balanced presentation of points of view.
It's surprising, then, that C-SPAN has repeatedly simulcast the show of Iowa radio bigot Jan Mickelson, an apparent birther who is virulently anti-gay. In a speech at a conservative event last month that was broadcast by C-SPAN, Mickelson said that because President Obama "has left out 'equally endowed by our Creator" in his recitation of the Declaration "even after he's been told several times that he's an Arab" for doing so, his actions must be "deliberate" and are therefore "evil."
On Tuesday, C-SPAN dedicated two and a half hours of airtime to giving Mickelson's show, which he describes as "fairly right of center," a national audience.
It's unclear how a hateful voice like Mickelson's fits into the thoughtful, balanced and bipartisan tone that C-SPAN and its corporate funders say they are seeking to undertake. In a statement to Media Matters, C-SPAN declined to comment on Mickelson's rhetoric, but acknowledged that the network has aired Mickelson's show ten times as a part of their efforts in "simulcasting local radio stations... with the intent of giving national audiences a sense of local debate and discussion."
So for C-SPAN, broadcasting Mickelson's record of vitriol is justified since it is just part of the local flavor of Iowa. Below the fold are just a few of the incendiary remarks C-SPAN disregarded when deciding to provide a national platform to Mickelson's "local debate."
From the April 27 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
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Since Judge Vaughn Walker, the federal judge who struck down California's ban on same sex marriage, disclosed that he is gay and in a long-term relationship members of the right-wing media have revived their campaign to have Walker disqualified from the case. Their campaign has culminated in a motion filed by opponents of same-sex marriage to vacate Walker's same-sex marriage ruling.
National Review Online blogger Ed Whelan has claimed that the motion to vacate Walker's ruling "elaborates the argument" he himself has made about why Walker should be disqualified from the case.
But several judicial ethicists agree that the arguments for why Walker should be disqualified from the case do not stand up to scrutiny.
Samford University's Cumberland School of Law Professor William G. Ross stated in a phone call with Media Matters that based on the arguments put forward by the opponents of same-sex marriage, "a reasonable person wouldn't believe [Walker] was biased."
New York University Law Professor Stephen Gillers stated in an e-mail that "[t]he fact that Walker is gay standing alone is not a basis for recusal. The fact that he is in a long term relationship with another man also is not by itself a basis for recusal."
Hofstra University Law Professor Monroe H. Freedman stated in a phone call that "simply being gay and in a gay relationship" is not a reason for recusal.
In addition, the Associated Press reported:
DePaul University College of Law professor Jeffrey Shaman, co-author of a widely used textbook on judicial conduct, said the fact that Walker was rumored to be gay from the moment he randomly drew the Proposition 8 case "somewhat undercuts the argument that he should have disclosed he was in a long-term relationship."
Lawyers for backers of the ban seem to be grasping at straws in making their argument against the now-retired Walker, Shaman said.
"But it's their prerogative to do this as lawyers," Shaman said. "It might indicate they are worried about the judge's opinion, which was such a strong opinion, and they are trying to make an end run around it."
From the April 21 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
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Another right-wing blogger has taken a stab at arguing that Judge Vaughn Walker should have been disqualified from the California same-sex marriage case because he is a gay man. But the post accidentally showed another reason why this argument has been deemed meritless and "ridiculous" by judicial ethics experts.
The blogger (presumably accidentally) argues that not only should Walker be disqualified from this case, but women judges must be disqualified from cases involving abortion.
Last night, as part of a series of National Review Online posts calling for Walker's disqualification, Matthew Franck hyped a guest post on the Patterico's Pontifications blog attacking Walker. The Patterico post, by Aaron Worthing, detailed an email exchange Worthing had had with San Francisco Chronicle reporter Bob Egelko about Walker.
In response to Egelko's remark that Walker "has no more of a conflict than a female judge, or a devoutly Catholic male judge, ruling on the right to abortion," Worthing stated: "[N]otice he also misses the issue of having your legal rights on the docket. A catholic male judge might have a certain preferred outcome in an abortion case, but he is not ruling on his personal rights."
Worthing responded to Egelko's analogy about a "devoutly Catholic male judge" ruling on abortion, but not about a "female judge" ruling on that issue.
I don't know why Worthing did not respond to the point about a "female judge," but a woman of childbearing age certainly has her own "legal rights on the docket" when ruling on abortion restrictions, and by the logic of Walker opponents, cannot hear such cases.
As we've already shown, by the logic of Walker's opponents, straight judges who are married or may someday want to get married must be disqualified from same-sex marriage cases. But now it's apparent that, in addition, female judges are disqualified from hearing abortion cases.
Or perhaps the real answer is that there are no grounds to disqualify Walker from the Proposition 8 case.
In an April 19 Washington Times column headlined, "NBA's gay gag order," Ted Nugent criticized the NBA for fining Kobe Bryant for using a gay slur, writing that "Bryant committed this egregious verbal foul because he used a word demeaning to homosexuals, the most protected class of people in America" and that "[t]hose among us who work tirelessly to shut down (and shout down, if the need arises) speech they disagree with must also be absolutely gay with pride and satisfaction over this fine."
Nugent further wrote that "[i]f the NBA had any true gay convictions, the NBA should host a Homosexual Night" during which "homosexuals could come down on the court, hold hands and prance around the court to music by the Village People. The NBA could then give each homosexual a pink basketball as a symbol of solidarity."
From Nugent's column:
Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant was socked with a $100,000 fine by the NBA last week for calling a referee what the NBA thinks is a derogatory, ugly and vile name.
To be exact, Mr. Bryant committed this egregious verbal foul because he used a word demeaning to homosexuals, the most protected class of people in America.
Gay rights groups applaud the decision of the NBA, which must make all the homosexual basketball fans feel peachy and special. Who knows, maybe the NBA will use Mr. Bryant's $100,000 to buy courtside seats for gay basketball fans. Yeah, that's the ticket. Show some gay pride, NBA.
Those among us who work tirelessly to shut down (and shout down, if the need arises) speech they disagree with must also be absolutely gay with pride and satisfaction over this fine.
If the NBA had any true gay convictions, the NBA should host a Homosexual Night. During halftime, the homosexuals could come down on the court, hold hands and prance around the court to music by the Village People. The NBA could then give each homosexual a pink basketball as a symbol of solidarity.
Homosexuals are a protected class in America. If you think what happened to Mr. Bryant was a travesty, just wait until you see what homosexuals in the military do when they claim they have been mistreated because of their sexual orientation.
National Review Online blogger Ed Whelan has been trying for more than a year to disqualify the judge who declared California's bar on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Whelan argues that because the judge in question -- Vaughn Walker -- is gay and in a long-term relationship, federal law requires that he be disqualified.
That hasn't stopped Whelan though. Today, he has posted a 1,400 word National Review piece that pleads for "a request by Prop 8 proponents" asking the appellate courts to throw out Walker's ruling on the grounds that he should be disqualified because of his sexual orientation.
Whelan writes that Walker should be disqualified because he is in a long-term relationship with a man and "a reasonable person would expect him to want to have the opportunity to marry his partner," which, according to Walker's own opinion, confers benefits on couples.
Whelan does not break any new ground in his arguments today. So there's not much new for us to add.
However, we'll note again that by Whelan's logic, a straight judge who is married or in a long-term relationship would also have to be disqualified because proponents of Proposition 8 argued that the ban on same-sex marriage was "about preserving marriage" as it has been traditionally defined.
Since marriage as traditionally defined would not be preserved were same-sex marriage to be legalized, straight judges would have an obvious interest in stopping same-sex marriage.
That would be no more ridiculous than believing Walker should be disqualified from the same-sex marriage case.
From the April 19 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the April 19 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the April 19 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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The Washington Times isn't known for carrying open or enlightening views on LGBT issues. Indeed, it could be argued that the Times takes certain delight in painting itself as anti-gay, in reinforcing the homophobic smear that "homosexual orientation is contrary to human nature." From same-sex marriage to DOMA to the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the Times has consistently hammered this point. But the op-ed it published Tuesday on Perez Hilton lifted the gay-bashing to a disturbing level.
Hilton, the openly gay celebrity blogger who runs top gossip site PerezHilton.com, recently announced that he has written his first children's book. The Boy With Pink Hair is to be published in September by Penguin's Hispanic imprint Celebra. According to its publisher, the book "is a defining story about how believing in yourself and following your aspirations can not only bring out the best in you, but also in those around you."
In a statement about the book posted on his website, Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, says:
I am absolutely elated about this book, which comes from a very dear and genuine place within me. While I can identify in many ways with THE BOY WITH PINK HAIR, he represents so much more. This story is about every kid that's ever had a dream, felt excluded, wanted to belong, and hoped that one day they could do what they loved and make a difference. Today, with this book, that's exactly what I feel I have the opportunity to do. I hope everyone can share in the spirit of a boy that only wants to bring some happiness to the world around him.
But the Times chose to represent Hilton and news of the book deal by insinuating that he is, in essence, a pedophile.