The out gay judge who ruled California’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional is set to address LGBT issues in the judiciary Monday, October 29 in San Francisco.
Retired U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker will appear as the 4th annual Chief Justice Ronald M. George distinguished lecturer. After his talk, he’ll take part in a conversation with a panel of LGBT judges. The event is from 5-6:30 p.m. Monday at Golden Gate University School of Law, PG&E Auditorium, 77 Beale Street. Keith Wetmore, the out gay chair of the law firm Morrison & Foerster LLP will moderate the panel.
Walker oversaw the San Francisco trial in what’s now known as Hollingsworth v. Brown, which was filed by same-sex couples after the state’s voters passed Proposition 8 in November 2008. In August 2010, he ruled the ban is unconstitutional. (He didn’t come out as gay publicly until after issuing his decision.) The law’s backers appealed, and the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide in November whether they’ll take up the case.
George was chief justice of the California Supreme Court when, by a 6-1 vote, that body upheld Prop 8 in May 2009. The justices unanimously ruled that the 18,000 marriages that took place during the five months before the ban went into effect were still valid under California law.
Monday’s panel will include Judge Deborah A. Batts, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York; Justice Virginia L. Linder, Oregon Supreme Court; and Presiding Judge Tonya Parker, 116th Civil District Court, Dallas, Texas.
“At a time in our country and in California when LGBT rights, which are really civil rights, are at the center of conversations and courts, we are pleased to welcome these distinguished LGBT jurists from across the nation to share their unique experiences and perspectives,” Rachel Van Cleave, Golden Gate University School of Law’s interim dean, said in a statement.