SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The federal judge who ruled that California’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional says he is stepping down from the bench.

The San Francisco-based federal court says Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker notified President Barack Obama by letter on Wednesday that he will leave the court in February.

Walker is retiring after 21 years as a federal judge. The 66-year-old has been chief judge of the Northern District of California since 2004.

He did not state in the letter his reason for stepping down.

Walker oversaw the high-profile trial over Proposition 8, a voter-approved initiative restricting a marriage to one man and one woman. His August ruling that struck down Proposition 8 is currently being challenged in a federal appeals court.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (68)
  1. Karen says:

    Good riddance. He finagled the case to put it on his docket because he is gay and wanted to create law. He should have recused himself. He should have dismissed it for lack of jurisidiction. Why wait until February? Why not leave now?

    1. WIREGUY_BILL says:

      When you had your gender re-assignment surgery, did you also become a female republican at the same time?

      1. Karen says:

        What a silly comment. Did you realize that making fun of other people means that YOU are insecure?

      2. Michael says:

        Why do you bother to chime in when you have said absolutely NOTHING that has to do with the issue. Are you only sharp enough to make petty personal attacks? Go ahead, turn that unbelievably high I.Q. of yours loose on the subject instead of a participant.

    2. vudu says:

      Insecurity? Karen, i believe you are the insecure one. That would explain why you are so anti gay marrige….. insecure about how it may affect your own relationships somehow.

      1. Karen says:

        Vudu – you already lost and you are back for more? Stop characterizing people. You have ZERO clue as to who I am or what I believe. Some presuming and you may learn something. One thing I hope you learn is that you do not know everything and everybody.

  2. Peggy says:

    I don’t mind that the Republicans have a different opinion than I do, I just hate to think these idiots get to vote. If they could just use intelligence when arguing their points…..

    1. Karen says:

      I am not a Republican. I’m just a Californian and an American.

      1. Anagram4wander says:

        And thats a defense for removing someone elses rights ? Sad..

  3. Jim says:

    Disagree with his decision, but he is one of the finest Federal Judges in CA. He and his legal mind will be greatly missed. If you will BUT READ HIS DECISION you will see it is a well reasoned decision, supported by both fact and law. Time to get over your petty religious and/or moral bias, and view the issue from a constitutional perspective. that is what this country is founded on, not what any particular religion believes, or what some group of people may think is moral vs. immoral.

    1. Karen says:

      I did read his decision and there are too many errors in it to discuss it in this forum. I’ll wait for the Supreme Court to chastise him and everyone else involved in this farce.

      And who are you calling petty? We Californians voted several times and the result was always the same.

      I think you are petty.

    2. Michael says:

      Wrong Jimbo, majority rules is what we are also founded on and the majority has spoken. Just who is supposed to decide what is accepted as moral if not the majority? YOU?

  4. Jude says:

    Prop. 8 should never have gone to a vote to begin with….Personal freedoms should not be decided by the “majority”.

    1. Karen says:

      Marriage is a contract, not personal freedom.

      1. Michael says:

        Really. When did you ever hear of or see a divorce based on “breech of contract”?

      2. Special K says:

        Technically, it’s actually a covenant.

    2. Michael says:

      Then who should decide how far YOUR “personal freedoms” should be allowed to go? I don’t think that every individual has what it takes inside to curb their “personal freedoms” and many will go further and further until someone stops them.

      Of course the majority should decide. The country was built on the concept.

    3. Michael says:

      Who should decide “personal freedoms” then, you? What happens when your personal freedoms clash with mine? Should we just duke it out, or sould the majority rule apply here as in everything else?

  5. smug and true says:

    Here’s some cold hard facts. Karen never read ANY of the decision, is an example of the worst kind of American (ignorant to american law, freedom, religion and it’s place in this country) and is actually just stupid.

    Also gay marriage will be legalized in California forever.

    these are facts people. nothing she does or says will ever refute them.

    1. Karen says:

      You certainly are smug aren’t you? Who do you think you are to make such comments? You don’t even know me. Thank goodness.

  6. El says:

    I still don’t understand why the majority is allowed to vote on the rights of a minority. If it had been up to the plantation owners, there would still be slavery. There are always people who need to keep others down so that they can maintain some semblance of power/superiority. It’s a flawed system, and it won’t last. Eventually, enough people will pull their heads out of the Middle Ages and evolve.

    Thank you for your great work, Judge Walker.

    1. Michael says:

      Wow, you are really out there. Civil Unions give gay couples the same “legal” rights as regular marriages. Who is keeping anyone down?

      But let me ask you this. Why is there a thing called “gay rights” in the first place. Why would they be any diffderent than anyone else? If you want your “gay rights” how about giving extra rights to those of us who aren’t gay to even the “rights” “score”?

      1. Karen says:

        I want more rights too. You hit the nail on the head.

  7. del sabado says:

    Thank you for the turnabout. May there be more peaceful turnabouts to come. God bless.Let us come into our right moral senses.

  8. Kathy says:

    Yes, Prop 8 should have never made it to the ballot. It is legally in violation of constitutional rights, and the money that the Mormons spent brainwashing with their agenda would have been better spent helping people, rather than trying to force their idea of “morality” onto the rest of the voters. Judge Walker ruled on a legal basis, not on bias, whether you want to look at it objectively or not.

    1. Karen says:

      When I voted YES on Prop 8, I had no clue the Mormons were involved in some campaign. To me – neither two men nor two women can procreate. I don’t believe in violating the natural laws of the universe.

      1. Anagram4wander says:

        But you just said that marriage is a contract.. Plain and simple.. My understanding is any persons can agree to a contract under law..

        You can’t have it both ways.

  9. NO WHINERS says:

    How about all of you just shut the hell up. It happened. What are you going to do about it?

  10. Jim says:

    I agree with you Kathy, we are not saying that gay people cannot be together, we are saying do not change the definition of marriage. Gays together are already called civil union, leave it at that.

  11. Jim says:

    Look at whose whining, it was voted down twice and the whining kept on. The majority should rule

  12. Kathy says:

    Just to be clear, I am for gay marriage, against Proposition 8 (hate), and take the position that it’s not anyone’s right to tell another person who they can marry, whether you’re gay, straight, black, white. Live andl let live. My point is that the so-called “moral majority” who think that just because putting Prop 8 on the ballot and getting it passed through the Mormons pushing their agenda is enough to say that the people have spoken is not what this is about. Judge Walker wrote an articulate, intelligent, legally sound reason why he was shooting it down. That is sound legal reasoning, not bias, as some would suggest.

  13. hetero says:

    not in california

  14. raquel says:

    Everyone has a right to vote, Everyone….. if the United States of America is a democracy than. whatever the voters decided should stand. Those that don’t vote, don’t complain..

    1. Anagram4wander says:

      Your right to vote (as a woman I assume) was invoked against the popular vote of the time.. Aren’t you glad THAT happened ?

      1. Karen says:

        Being gay is not the same as being a woman or black.

      2. Anagram4wander says:

        “being gay is different from being black or a woman” – please explain how – it’s all DNA is it not ?

  15. Special K says:

    Where’s the Ombudsman? The headline is in error! It should read that the judge who ruled Prop. 8 UNCONSTITUTIONAL to step down.

    @Karen – thank you for your succinct and articulate comments. I agree with you wholeheartedly. The eternal Judge, that Ancient of Days ruled long ago that marriage is solely between a man and a woman. He’s the one who CREATED marriage. Gays don’t want to obey God, why in the WORLD would they want to participate in a ceremony created and set forth BY God?

    You can’t have it both ways.

    1. Anagram4wander says:

      Actually man created the current marriage contract – its currently a legal contract defined by and enforced by mankind – the current legal terms and enforcement in this country were all written by man – not divine.

    2. Karen says:

      Thanks Special K, especially for the clarification of covenant v. contract.

    3. Karen says:

      Special K – they fixed the headline.

  16. vudu says:

    Ok i think I figured out “Karen”. Shes what you would call a forum troll. Comes here just to argue for entertainment, doesnt actually believe most the stuff she says. Cant blame her that much, its fun when you’re really really bored. Well played Karen!!! I let myself get dragged in, didnt realize it until I read all your comments to several people and concluded no serious person could be that ignorant, self contradicting, and arrogant at the same time.

    1. Karen says:

      Vudu – I told you once to STOP with the name calling. I believe everything I say and submitted all of these ideas in the form of a amicus brief to Judge Walker. It’s online via Pacer. Check it out.

      And please remember that ALL PSYCHOLOGISTS say that people who attack others are INSECURE. You wouldn’t want to be known as insecure now would you?

  17. Special K says:

    Vudu is a good name for you. Careful now — all that pointing your finger, look at your own hand with 3 fingers pointing right back at you.

    1. Anagram4wander says:

      Don’t think that there is a much stronger case of finger pointing then bringing the law if the divine into play.

      1. Anagram4wander says:

        Of – rather than if – darn iPhone.

      2. Special K says:

        Just want you to know they’ve shut down my side of the discussion — as it appears they have shut Karen down, too.

        We may be on different sides of the argument, but I think you’ll agree with me that we both have a right to be a part of the conversation and it was enjoyable while it lasted. I hope you’ll see that this site is clearly liberal and clearly shutting down the opposite side of the conversation. That’s pretty insecure.

      3. Anagram4wander says:

        As replies are still enabled, I hope this is not shut down. I do have a rights issue – separate from my personal opinion in this case. I for one, am not trying to shut anyone down – just discussing the facts in a country that has a distinict seperation of church and state.

      4. Karen says:

        I never mentioned divine once. The natural laws of the universe ARE PHYSICS in case you did not know. One of those laws is that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, or the laws of gravity, or the fact that energy can not be created or destroyed, it can only be transferred. That is what I am talking about.

        And to the people who want “separation of church and state” – please remember that the first amendment to the US Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Thomas Jefferson insisted we include a Bill of Rights because our forefathers RESPECTED RELIGION.

  18. Alan Hart says:

    The judge is 66 years old and will be paid his salary for the rest of his life.What other reason does he need?

    1. Special K says:

      “His heart has reasons which reason knows nothing of” ~ Pascal

      1. Michael says:

        So I can just follow my heart regardless where it takes me and your supposed to accept that? Wow, we should ALL do that exact thing!! Welcome to chaos!!

      2. Special K says:

        @Michael You’ve missed it — look at it again, only deeper.

  19. Special K says:

    I’ve replied several times and posted on twitter that my comments are being blocked from being posted. I think it is the liberal moderator on the forum, not you, Anagram that is doing it.

    Try posting a conservative comment and see how it just miraculously doesn’t appear on the board. Comments are enabled for you —- see any “reply button” under my previous ‘being shut down” post? No. Nada. Not there. Wake up Americans – the liberal media is drowning your compatriots just because we have dissenting opinions.

    I believe you have rights Anagram. I’m all for protecting them under the Constitution. I have rights, too. Want to talk directly? reach me at

    1. Anagram4wander says:

      The largest media network in the world – news international cannot be classed as liberial. If you are being blocked – and your comments are not classed as racist or bigoted – then a mistake is being made.

      Every one has a right to discuss – but not to regress the rights of others.

      1. Special K says:

        Well, all I can tell you Ana is that I’ve made plenty of unbigoted, unracist remarks, but have included quotes from the Bible and a reference to kool-aid aromatic dark rooms, but ALL of those comments are not posted. But two of my later ones are…you keep believing in the lame-stream media, I for one have worked in the law firms and seen the back room deals and watched it be reported TOTALLY different that it actually went down.

        I’m calling it a night, Ana. Keep fighting for the Constitution and for the American Ideal — we ALL have a seat at the table and I for one, thank GOD ALMIGHTY as the one personally responsible for that.

    2. Karen says:

      Special K – It is weird how some comments can have a reply and others can not. I stopped posting after awhile and watched tv.

  20. Special K says:


    Really then where is comment of mine about the 1840’s CA marriage license with State Seal stating Marriage Granted by God. That comment also includes quote from Matthew 19:4-6. Where is that comment?

    Where’s the reply that I left for anagram about I don’t care if the editor is gay…

    Where’s that comment? And why no “REPLY” option under your comment and some of mine?

  21. Special K says:

    @cbsalam p.s. thanks for your reply 30 minutes LATER. You must be a whiz at multi-tasking there.

    1. Michael says:

      Turn off the coffee, or the special k, special k. Some people obviously don’t hang on your every word.

      1. Special K says:

        But you do. Thx.

    2. Anagram4wander says:

      I am sure he is busy across multiple jobs on the site.. Cut him/her some slack please..

  22. Special K says:

    ((((HELLO-OOOO))) (((cbsalan?))))


    1. Anagram4wander says:

      Please stop the attacks on a site that is allowing you to express your views. It’s counter productive, and not particularly helpful to coming across as reasonable or balanced.

      Let’s stick to the conversation at hand.

      1. Special K says:

        Wow – so my comments aren’t getting posted — he never answered that portion, but thanked you for your sensitive side of recognizing him as a he and you want ME to cut HIM some slack.

        Guess my rights don’t matter. It has always been about the conversation and the comments went this way because my comments ABOUT the conversation — facts, are not being posted.

        But now you want to make it personal and negative…against me, and lecture me about staying on topic instead of seeing the suppression.

  23. Special K says:

    Quote from this site’s editor, cbsalan

    “And what of infertile couples? Are they also violating the natural laws of the universe if they try to procreate?”

    Move along, people, there’s no bias here…

    1. Karen says:

      I am tiring of answering the question about infertile couples or older couples, etc. As I said in my amicus brief to Walker, just because you can make a baby in a test tube does not give cause to change the centuries old definition of marriage.

      1. Special K says:

        @Karen, I’m proud of you for doing a Friend of the Court brief! If you want a photo copy for an exhibit of a California State Marriage license that says this marriage is granted by God with the California State Seal on it, signed by the governor from the 1840’s, I’d be happy to forward that to you.

        Just so you and everyone else knows — cbsalan is a web producer for and was acting as the moderator — or editor, as he called himself. I wonder if he was also Alan Hart who commented above.

  24. Chris says:

    Contrary to the work of fiction that were your submissions Karen, equality is not subject to religious interpretation. Equal protection exists to protect everyone on the same level, not to promote one or another particular secular belief system. Governmental promotion of religiously based legislation is forbidden by the constitution because (for the bazillionth time) the Constitution was created to protect minorities in this country from the majority. The U.S. is clearly a “christian” country and the “definitions” thrust forward for marriage thus far have all come from christian based religious viewpoints. Inserting those definitions into law by popular vote is EXACTLY what the Constitution is intended to prevent.
    The only thing that Prop 8 accomplished was to put a minority group’s fundamental right up to a popular vote. If you think otherwise, well, you am an idiot.

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