Tony Perkins, head of the influential Family Research Council, argued on Sunday that the judge who overturned California's ban on gay marriage should have recused himself from the case due to his own sexuality.
One of the most powerful social conservatives in the nation, Perkins told CBS's "Face the Nation," that U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker's decision was compromised by the fact that he is "openly homosexual. (It's rumored, but not an open fact, that Walker is gay).
"I think what you have is one judge who thinks he knows -- and a district level judge and an openly homosexual judge at that -- who says he knows better than not only 7 million voters in the state of California but voters in 30 states across the nation that have passed marriage amendments," said Perkins. "This is far from over."
"Had this guy been ... an evangelical preacher in his past there would have been cries for him to step down from this case," he added. "So I do think [his homosexuality] has a bearing on the case. But this is not without precedent."
Perkins is not alone in arguing that Walker's ruling, overturning California's Proposition 8 law banning gay marriage, was compromised. The American Family Association called the decision an "absolutely outrageous and unconscionable ruling" that should never have been allowed to happen. Walker, the AFA insisted, should have recused himself "because his judgment is clearly compromised by his own sexual proclivity."
Arguing that Walker's sexuality affected his legal reasoning is, of course, a rather dubious way of protesting the ruling he offered. There were no protests from Perkins, for instance, when a Virginia judge with ties to the attorney general arguing the case ruled that lawsuits against health care reform could proceed legally. Nor, for that matter, did he alert viewers to the fact that Walker was appointed initially by Ronald Reagan, then again by George H.W. Bush, and opposed, along the way, by Democrats in the Senate.
If anything, the complete 136-page opinion Walker offered in the case was done with the type of meticulous research and fact finding designed to remove the notion that personal bias was somehow a factor.