Plaintiffs in this case are same-sex couples who claim that a California constitutional provision that redefined marriage in California solely to encompass a union between one man and one woman violated their rights under the federal Constitution.
Judge Walker entered judgment for Plaintiffs and enjoined enforcement of the state constitution against them.
Defendant-Intervenors brought this Motion before the District Court to vacate the Judgment on the ground that Judge Walker was disqualified from presiding over the case because his same-sex relationship was, or reasonably appeared to be, a nonpecuniary interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the case.
After considering the Oppositions to the Motion and the governing law, as discussed below, the Court finds that neither recusal nor disqualification was required based on the asserted grounds. The sole fact that a federal judge shares the same circumstances or personal characteristics with other members of the general public, and that the judge could be affected by the outcome of a proceeding in the same way that other members of the general public would be affected, is not a basis for either recusal or disqualification under Section 455(b)(4). Further, under Section 455(a), it is not reasonable to presume that a judge is incapable of making an impartial decision about the constitutionality of a law, solely because, as a citizen, the judge could be affected by the proceedings. Accordingly, the Motion to Vacate Judgment on the sole ground of Judge Walker’s same-sex relationship is DENIED.
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