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From SF: Latest hearing on Prop. 8 trial because Judge Walker is gay and has a boyfriend

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Today, I'm at the Federal Court Building in San Francisco, to watch the hearing on the Prop. 8 proponents motion to vacate Judge Walker's decision -- because Judge Walker has a boyfriend. The first part of the hearing related to a motion by the Prop. 8 side to order a return of the trial tapes. They really don't want anyone to see the actual testimony. Judge Ware, who has taken over Judge Walker's case load, said he will probably deny the motion to order return of tapes.

The hearing then moved on to the motion to vacate. Charles Cooper from the Prop. 8 defendant/intervenors began by trying to define what kind of interest required recusal by a federal judge. He wanted to link the pecuniary interest to other non-pecuniary interests.

Cooper then got into the meat of his argument. He cited the plaintiffs' brief, noting how it read that "at the heart" of the plaintiffs claim is that they are similarly situated to opposite-sex couples in wanting to get married. According to Cooper, "it now appears Judge Walker..occupied those same shoes as the plaintiffs." Cooper said that Walker "was similarly situated to the plaintiffs." That's because he was in a "long-term, committed relationship."

Judge Ware maintained that the plaintiffs wanted to change their relationship to be allowed to marry. He repeatedly asked Cooper for evidence that Walker wanted to change his relationship. There is none. But, Cooper apparently thinks the very fact that Walker didn't disclose his relationship is evidence enough.

Throughout his time, Cooper made it clear that this motion to vacate revolves around the fact that Walker has a boyfriend. To that Ware said, "Long-term relationship is your marker for wanting to marry." But Cooper also argued that if Walker had no interest in marrying his partner, he would have to disclose that too.

I'm livetweeting here. During the break, I ran into AFER's Board Chair Chad Griffin and the organization's Senior Project Director, Adam Umhoefer. AFER is livetweeting here. Courage Campaign's Rick Jacobs is also at the Court House. He's is liveblogging here.

Our side's lawyer, Theodore Boutrous Jr., just started after the break. First line is that this motion is frivolous and offensive. Yep.

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