Should judges and jurors have to reveal their sexual orientation?

By: Wallin & Klarich

Most people are aware that a federal judge recently ruled that Proposition 8, the proposition that banned gay marriage in California was unconstitutional. That issue will likely now end up before the United States Supreme Court.

What fewer people know is that after the ruling was made the federal judge who made the ruling announced that he was gay. The proponents of Proposition 8 are using that issue as one of many to have his ruling overturned by the Supreme Court.
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Of course we are very hopeful his ruling will stand and that will allow gay and lesbians to marry in California.

However, since this issue has come to the attention of the public some are now arguing that prior to a judge being appointed to the bench that be required to advise the governor of his sexual preference. This is an outrageous proposal but it may end up becoming a piece of legislation that some conservative lawmaker in Sacramento will take up as their latest “cause” to satisfy the tea party movement and other religious conservative voters.

This proposal is ridiculous and must be rejected. This proposal would in effect force anyone who wanted to become a judge to “out himself or herself” against their will. This proposal also will accomplish nothing.
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This concept assumes that a persons sexual preference will somehow impact his ability to rule in a particular case. The law doesn’t require those who apply to be a judge to state their religious preference and it should not make an exception for sexual preference.

Can you imagine the next step if this were to become law. Then jurors, under the same theory, would be able to be asked by lawyers during jury selection about their sexual preference. The same argument could be made that jurors could be influenced for or against a party due to their sexual preference. The entire notion is outrageous.

However, if people do not step up and point out that this idea is crazy it could become the law of this state. In reality all this proposal is has to do with yet another way to show ignorant prejudice against gay and lesbian men and women who have already suffered enough prejudice.

We do not ask judges to tell us if they have cheated on their spouses. We do not ask judges to tell us if they have been going to church on a regular basis. By the same token we should not require judges to inform us of their sexual orientation. None of these things have anything to do with a judges ability to sit and judge trials fairly and to make the best legal decisions they can make due to their years of legal experience.

We encourage your comments.

Posted In: Criminal Defense