If Gays Can’t Rule on Gays, Can Whites Rule on Whites?

Anti-gay rights activists want to overturn a ruling to allow same-sex marriage in California. In their most recent attempt, they maintained that because San Francisco Chief Judge Vaughn Walker is gay, and could personally benefit, he acted with bias when he rendered his decision. This week Judge James Ware rejected the claim, calling it warrantless.

No one calls “bias” when whites or men make rulings that benefit them. Affirmative action cases, for instance. White Justices have been known to rule in ways that would benefit their own white children and grandchildren.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice John Roberts seems to vote consistently
in ways that benefit Republicans, and therefore himself, as a member of that
party. As court watcher, Jeffrey Toobin, observes, “In every major case
since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with
the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive
branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual
plaintiff… Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the
contemporary Republican Party.” Yet no one says that Roberts should recuse
himself from said cases.

Worries of bias seem only to rise when members of the LGBT community, women and people of color hold positions of judicial power. Many wondered whether Sonia Sotomayor could judge without favoritism as a Latina.

Meanwhile, in their search for justice gays, women and ethnic minorities have usually been at the mercy of white, straight, males. In the past it’s been argued that minority judges can’t be objective on affirmative action. Why would a white judge be fairer? It has been claimed that women can’t be objective on abortion rights. Why would a male judge be fairer? And now accusations that gays cannot rule objectively on gay marriage. Why is
the privileged perspective constantly deemed more fair-minded?

Why? Because most of our information has come to us over the years through straight, white men’s eyes, whether via the media or over the political, corporate, or religious pulpit. We are so inundated that after a lifetime, their view comes to seem like the “normal” and unbiased way of seeing.

But really, if gays can’t rule on issues affecting gays, should whites be allowed to rule on matters that impact whites?

June is LGBT Month

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on June 17, 2011, in feminism, gender, LGBTQ+, psychology, race/ethnicity, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Privlige really screws us up as a society. those who have privilege often don’t see or recognize it and those who don’t are often critisized or punished for voicing or disagreeing with the situation. Personally I think that the people of a particular group should have more say in the values or rights of that group. Yet that view gets a little sticky when it comes to white or white straight male issues as that is where the majority of power is held in our society. I personally don’t feel that gay men and women should have to live under the rule or constrains of straight men and women just as I (a white woman) feel that women should not have to live under the rule or constrains of men. Many of my gay friends would love the right to get marrried and I don’t see how that would threaten the institution of marriage, but we live in a world that greatly fears that which is different or that which we don’t understand. Hopefully we will continue on the path of understanding and accepting and not the path of more division.

  2. People always tell me you are so opened minded for coming from the Midwest, Bible belt area. My response to them is not all of us agree with everything that goes on their. They are just the majority. I believe everyone should be equal. I have had the racism stares from having a mixed daughter in the Bible belt. It is part of the reason I decided to come out West. I want my daughter to be judged on who she is, not what color she is!!

  3. Victor Aguirre

    This is just another case of discrimination in my eyes. It’s the “man” trying to do what he can to maintain his control over the rest of us. Opportunities like this need to be taken were the objection of the privileged needs to be exemplified in order to curve the thinking of the all spectators. To do this will be to exercise the minds of others and promote their critical thinking abilities. After all it’s critical thinking that gets us anywhere.

  4. I don’t believe anyone has the power to rule over other people. People should be able to think whatever they want as long as it is not detrimental to others. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. – Eleanor Roosevelt
    Everyone should be equal. We have come a long way on most of these issues but we still have a long way to go. One issue is that people of different ethnicities get shorter jail sentences. They bribe the judicial system into getting out of things. This is a bad thing because people don’t learn lessons. “If they do the crime they should do the time”. They should have to deal with the consequences. Sorry for going off on a tangent. If Gay or White people are the only ones being spoken to about issues that have to deal with them how are the rest of us supposed to know what we’re supposed to do when an issue arises? If we are kept in the dark we won’t be able to figure out a way to peacefully co-exist if we are always disagreeing and fighting. We can only find solutions once we realize there is a problem. Then we can get rid of it once and for all. Although habits can’t change overnight. We have to work hard in order to change them.

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