When Judge Vaughn Walker, who struck down California’s Prop 8, was discovered to be *GASP* a ho-mo-sexual, plenty of Mormons cried bias and whinged that he should have recused himself. After all, being a ho-mo-sexual meant that he had a personal motive in ruling on the definition of marriage. Those with more than one brain cell pointed out that you could very well say the same thing about a straight person, and that it was as silly to claim a gay person couldn’t issue a fair ruling on gay issues as it would be to say a woman couldn’t issue a fair ruling on women’s issues.
Three randomly selected judges will review whether or not Judge Walker’s ruling will stand. One of them is a Mormon.
Riddle me this, Outer Blogness: How many Mormons will say that BYU graduate and active Mormon N. Randy Smith (blimey, even his name is ironically Mormon) should recuse himself based on the fact that he belongs to a religion to which he has presumably sworn loyalty to in the temple, and which has a leader that ordered him to do everything he could to oppose gay marriage?
The accusation of bias against Judge Walker was illogical and unfair. There is no central leadership for the gay community, and no single gay agenda. Judge Walker was answerable to no one but himself in forming his extremely well-reasoned opinion. Gay people tend to have the common goal of not wanting to be thrown in prison for what they do in private, but there is a great deal of diversity of opinion, many different gay movements, and no central authority regulating it all. You can’t say the same thing about active Mormons. It’s possible for Judge Smith to issue an unbiased ruling, but there is much more of a case for conflict of interest here. Does he follow his prophet? Could he rule in favour of Prop 8 without the taint of bias? Could he rule against Prop 8 without appearing to be insincere about his faith?
I won’t hold my breath waiting for those posts from active LDS who will agree that, in the interest of fairness and avoiding the appearance of hypocrisy, they believe Judge Smith ought to recuse himself. I will wait for all the delightful posts satirising this, though. They are already coming in.