Prop. 8 Judge Raises Tough Questions

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June 9, 2010


"The federal judge presiding over a lawsuit challenging Proposition 8, California's anti-marriage equality measure, has distributed to attorneys on both sides a list of 39 questions to be addressed during closing arguments next week.

"One veteran gay legal scholar said that the breadth of inquiries posed by U.S. district judge Vaughn R. Walker means that his decision likely will be 'blockbuster in its scope.'

"...In some cases, Walker's questions appear to be hinting that the evidence submitted thus far for certain critical facts may be insufficient. For instance, he asks, 'What are the constitutional consequences if the evidence shows that sexual orientation is immutable for men but not for women?'

"...'We think that term "immutable" has a meaning different in this analysis from just whether something is "changeable" in the day-to-day sense,' said Lambda Legal marriage project director Jennifer C. Pizer. 'Just because a person's expression of their sexuality may be different at different stages of their life doesn't mean their orientation is a matter of voluntary will at any given moment or, more to the point, that the government has any business telling the person to change as the price of equal treatment under law.'"