Judge Walker Earns a Gold Medal From Gay Athletes

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The timing of Judge Vaughn Walker's landmark Prop. 8 ruling has some historic irony. It came during the middle of the 2010 Gay Games in Cologne, where I am competing in water polo.

In 1982, Vaugh Walker, then a private attorney with the San Francisco law firm Pillsbury, Madison and Sutro, represented the U.S. Olympic Committee in its lawsuit to block Tom Waddell from naming his first international athletics event The Gay Olympics. Walker and the USOC prevailed, forcing Waddell to change the event name to the Gay Games. Walker's role in that lawsuit earned him the enmity of the gay and lesbian community -- anger that lingered for decades even as it began to surface publicly that Walker was gay.

The Prop. 8 ruling changes all that. Word of the decision spread quickly here in Germany, where many California athletes have been competing all week. There were cheers and jubilation among athletes as the news was heard. In any case, the '82 lawsuit and the Prop. 8 ruling make for interesting bookends in the twilight of Walker's long legal career.

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