What happens when noted activist, blogger and Appeal pal Michael Petrelis stumbles across the man responsible for deciding if gay folks have the right to marry? How about we just let him tell you in his own words? — EB
I was walking past 2223, a Castro District restaurant, at around 7 pm Monday night, when I spotted a bald attractive man at a table up against the Market Street facing window. Turned out to be Brett Andrews, the executive director of the Positive Resource Center, an AIDS org providing employment and benefits counseling.
Seated opposite him was a white-haired older gentleman, who I instantly realized was none other than Vaughn Walker, the federal judge hearing the Prop 8 gay marriage case. I was momentarily stunned to see him in a social setting, enjoying drinks and laughs at the elegant 2223 restaurant.
But I got over that, pulled my camera out of my pocket, and snapped some photos. I detected no hostility from either man, and went in to say hello and introduce myself to Walker.
The other people in the restaurant who watched me taking photos, seemed nervous as I entered with my enormous “Global Gay Solidarity” poster, a megaphone with Queer Power stickers all over it, and a “Silence = Death” button on my jacket collar. I was so dressed and prop-laden because I been at the IDAHO kiss-in at Harvey Milk Plaza earlier and was heading home after a fabulous action.
With a smile on my face, I approached their table, nodded acknowledgment to Brett, then extended my right hand to Walker, who was grinning and quite relaxed. (Was it the drinks that put him at such ease?)
The brief conversation started thus:
MP: “Hello, Judge Walker, I’m — “
VW: “Hi Michael.”
MP: “I wanna ask you something. Will you come out?”
VW: “Come out?”
MP: “Yeah, come out.”
BA: “Do you mean come out for some socializing?”
MP: “Oh, okay. Whatever. I just hope you do the right thing. Have a good night.”
Even though I wasn’t the least bit medicated, I felt like I had the biggest 420 stoner happy face on display in the restaurant. I was elated from the fabulous kiss-in and saw no reason to press Walker further. I made my point and left.
Let’s hope Walker officially comes out of his glass closet, and renders a decision in the Prop 8 trial that advances American equality for gay people.
All photos: Michael Petrelis