Sunday, February 14, 2010
The wingnuts are at it again, this time over the news that the judge in the Proposition 8 case is gay. So of course that means he’s automatically biased against straight people, according to them. But despite all the dramatic huffery puffery coming from the usual suspects, including Andy Pugno, pro-Proposition 8 activist and lead attorney defending it, Judge Vaughn's worst anti-straight offenses are wanting to have the case be a part of the Federal District Court project for recording and delayed broadcasting via YouTube of court proceedings and for ordering pro Prop 8 documents be turned over for evidence.
Of course they conveniently overlook the fact that when George H.W. Bush appointed Judge Vaughn Walker to Federal District Court he encountered a major obstacle, that he was anti-gay because of a case he took when he was a private attorney representing the U.S. Olympic Committee in a successful bid to keep San Francisco's Gay Olympics from infringing on its name.
But that’s not the only evidence of their selective amnesia. There are many shocking example of judicial bias on record. Inconviently, however, they certainly don’t show a pattern of anti-straight bias in the judiciary.
On May 15, 1988 Richard Lee Bednarski, son of a police officer, and a group of his high school friends went gay bashing in the Cedar Springs area of Dallas. As a result, 2 gay men, John Griffin and Tommy Trimble, were shot to death. Although the prosecutor asked for the death penalty, Judge Jack Hampton sentenced the killer to 30 years, saying “I don’t care much for queers cruising the streets. I’ve got a teenage boy,” Hampton told the Dallas Times-Herald. Hampton said Griffin and Trimble wouldn’t have been killed “if they hadn’t been cruising the streets picking up teenage boys,” and that he would have handed down a harsher penalty if the victims had been “a couple of housewives out shopping, not hurting anybody. “I put prostitutes and gays at about the same level, and I’d be hard pressed to give someone life for killing a prostitute.”
In September 1995, Pensacola trial judge Joseph Tarbuck made it clear that he thought children are better off living with murderers than with gay couples. He heard a case in which a Mary Ward mother asked for an increase in child support payments for her daughter Cassie Ward. But rather than address that issue, he removed Cassie from the home of her Mother and lesbian partner and awarded custody to the child’s father, a convicted murderer, stating that he wanted the girl to live in a non-lesbian world.
Alabama Supreme Court chief justice Roy Moore in a 2002 case awarding child custody to abusive father wrote that homosexuality is “abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature’s God upon which this Nation and our laws are predicated.” The state, he wrote, “carries the power of the sword, that is, the power to prohibit conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution. It must use that power to prevent the subversion of children towards this lifestyle, to not encourage a criminal lifestyle.”
In March 2002, Mississippi Justice Court Judge Connie Wilkerson wrote a letter to the editor published in the George County Times, saying: “In my opinion, gays and lesbians should be put in some type of mental institute instead of having a [domestic partnership] law like this passed for them.” Judge Wilkerson was referring to an Associated Press article about the ability of gay and lesbian survivors to sue for the wrongful death of their partners. The judge invoked the Bible and Romans 1:32, which suggests that those who break God’s law “are worthy of death.” A right-wing Christian organization, American Family Association’s Center for Law and Policy, is defending Judge Wilkerson against an ethics complaint for those comments.
Lawrence v. Texas, the seminal 2003 case that struck down sodomy laws and affirmed gay citizens' right to privacy denied to us by the hateful 1986 case Bowers v. Hardwick. In Lawrence, Justice Antonin Scalia compared homosexuality to bigamy, incest, prostitution, and bestiality. He also said homosexuality was contagious and that teachers could induce their students to become gay. He accused the Court of "signing on to the so-called homosexual agenda". Scalia has said publicly that he considers being gay an "immoral lifestyle choice".
That's what bias looks like. So, Andy Pugno and friends, show us the real anti-gay straight bias out there. Otherwise just stop whining.