San Francisco Chronicle published a Feb. 7 column about an aspect of the Proposition 8 trial the media didn’t report while it was under way — that Judge Vaughn Walker is gay.
The column reported that Walker, who will decide if the 2008 ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage, unconstitutionally discriminates against gays and lesbians, “has never taken pains to disguise — or advertise — his orientation.”
According to the article, gay politicians and leaders don’t believe Walker’s orientation will influence how he rules on the case, though Andy Pugno, general counsel for the group that sponsored the Prop. 8 campaign, said they haven’t gotten a fair shake from Walker in court.
“In many ways, the sponsors of Prop. 8 have been put at significant disadvantage throughout the case,” he said, “regardless of the reason for it.”
Brendan Burke killed in car accident
Yahoo News reports Brendan Burke, son of Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, was killed Feb. 5 in a car accident near Economy, Ind. He was 21.
Burke became known in November when the story of his coming out to his father became public after a column by John Buccigross of ESPN.
A student at Miami University in Ohio, Burke was on the staff of the men’s hockey team in charge of video and statistics.
His brother Patrick, a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers, said that Brian “packed more into those 21 years than most people do in a lifetime. He left his mark on so many people in so many ways.”
Gay-rights bill advances in Kansas
The Kansas City Star reports a state Senate panel has endorsed a bill that would prohibit discrimination in Kansas based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The bill was approved Feb. 4 by the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee, with three voting against it.
The bill would ban discrimination in employment, housing or public accommodations based on sexual orientation. Kansas law already covers discrimination related to race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin or ancestry.
Late last session, the committee sent the bill to Senate for debate, but then sent it back to the panel.
— Larry Nichols