A new book reveals that the trial judge in the case that overturned California’s Proposition 8 had undergone ex-gay conversion therapy in his younger years.
Judge Vaughn Walker, who came out publicly after striking down California’s gay marriage ban, fought back tears during the 2010 trial when a witness testified about his painful memories of participating in such therapy as a teen.
Walker tells author Jo Becker that because he had not yet had sex with a man when he underwent therapy for what he thought to be an ‘affliction.’
A psychiatrist ‘pronounced me cured,’ he says and adds that he ‘wanted badly to believe that was true.’ He had what he described as ‘faux romances’ with women and it was not until his late 30s that he had his first relationship with a man, according to SFGate.
Walker had been retired from the federal bench for two months when he came out publicly in 2011. He had served as a US district judge for the Northern District of California since 1989.
The US Supreme Court left Walker’s 2010 ruling as the final decision on Proposition 8 in June 2013, the same day the court struck down key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act.
While had kept his sexuality private during his legal career, it became an issue during the Prop 8 appeal when attorneys against gay marriage argued unsuccessfully that Walker was biased in the case because he is gay.
Becker’s book, entitled Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality, will be released next week.