Judge in Prop 8 Trial Reportedly Gay

February 10th, 2010

While Judge Vaughn R. Walker has not admitted his sexuality either way, a number of attorneys involved with the historical Prop 8 trial claim they knew he was homosexual before the trial had ever started. Gay and lesbian blogs were buzzing about the news late last year and now the San Francisco Chronicle has even made mention of the speculation.

So far, proponents of Prop 8 say he is on their side and has been undeniably supportive of banning gay marriage, so his orientation has no bearing on the case. It seems likely that if the proposition is struck down they might claim he has a conflict of interest though. Many San Francisco family attorneys are quick to question whether his orientation really provides for a conflict of interest either way.

While this is a breaking new aspect of the historical case, it seems that Walker’s opinion may not stand for very long whichever way he decides, as both sides have made it clear they will approach the Supreme Court if they lose.

To read more about the news, see the article in the Baptist Press News.

U.S. Pushing Japan To Protect Families

February 3rd, 2010

Japan has a policy of ignoring U.S. court orders when it comes to family matters, which has left a number of parents childless after a Japanese parent takes the child from the American parent. In some cases, the country will even arrest parents who attempt to take back their children on their own.

While the U.S. has been clashing with Japan on this issue for years, America has decided to turn up the heat recently, with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell warning, “The situation has to be resolved in order to ensure that the U.S.-Japan relations continue on such a positive course.”

Japan is the only country of seven major industrial nations that has so far refused to sign the Hague Convention treaty that would ban child abductions involving other countries. While many have tried to defend the nation by explaining that its culture does not litigate divorce in the same manner that the U.S. does, many, including San Francisco family lawyers, say this is not an acceptable reason to ignore the problem.

To read more on the issue, see the article in the Washington Post. Image via futureatlas.com [Flickr].

Mistress Publicly Embrasses Oracle President

January 27th, 2010

YaVaughnie Wilkins had an eight year long affair with Oracle President Charles Phillips. The couple even shared a home and many sources claim YaVaughnie was unaware Charles was married.

In 2008, Phillip’s wife Karen had filed for divorce and friends of the couple claim Charles had been claiming to be single since 2003. In the last year though, the couple has since reconciled. In recent months, Charles has even been publicly sucking up to her, going so far to say he “owes everything to his wife” in a speech he gave during an award acceptance.

Not surprisingly, YaVaughnie felt spurned, but her next move was much more shocking than anyone would expect. The estranged girlfriend spent $250,000 to post billboards in San Francisco, New York, and Atlanta depicting herself and Charles together, a quote from Charles claiming YaVaughnie was his solemate, and a web address for her website, charlesphillipsandyavaughniewilkins.com. The website has since been taken down, but a copy can be seen on the designer’s website.

Since the billboards went up, the story became public and was posted across the web. Now Charles has come forward and confessed his affair with YaVaughnie. Unfortunately, this public embarrassment may not be the only way Charles will suffer. It seems YaVaughnie decided to put the billboards up right as Oracle was announcing a major merger with Sun Microsystems. Some believe the billboards may drastically affect the cost of the company’s stocks right during this crucial time.

Details are still unknown as to how this will affect Charles and Karen’s marriage, but it would not be surprising if Karen contacts her San Francisco family lawyer and refiles for divorce.

To read more about the story, see the articles in Cnet or Gawker.

Arguments Used In Fed Marriage Case

January 20th, 2010

As the federal court battle against prop 8 heats up, the same-sex marriage advocates have been presenting a wealth of evidence in their favor. To show that those against gay marriage are in fact displaying animosity against homosexuals, footage of a has been presented where a leader in the Prop 8 movement, William Tam, tries to say that allowing gay marriage would lead to the legalization of fornication with children. Tam has also been recorded as having told his followers that if California legalizes same sex marriage, “one by one, other states would fall into Satan’s hands. Every child, when growing up, would fantasize marrying someone of the same sex. More children would become homosexuals.”

Yale law professor George Chauncey has testified that Tam’s statements are “consistent in tone with a much larger history of anti-gay rhetoric.”

San Francisco family attorneys say another strategy of those fighting for legalization of same-sex marriage has been to show that it does not actually present any threat to the institution of marriage. To help make this point, Harvard history professor Nancy Cott has testified that the U.S. has historically restricted marriage to other parties, such as inter-racial couples, and when these bans were lifted, the institution of marriage has become stronger, not weaker as proponents of the ban claim. Cott also argued that traditional gender roles involved with marriage are no longer applicable in our society and, thus, cannot be counted as an argument against gay marriage. She also argued that the divorce rate in Massachusetts has not risen in the five years since gay marriage has been legalized in the state.

Lastly, those arguing for same sex marriage legalization have provided evidence to show that a person’s sexuality is not a choice, but a genetic programing. To make this point, Ryan Kendall testified that his attempts to reform his sexuality through “reversal therapy” proved fruitless and almost drove him to commit suicide. He said at the end of his therapy, “I was just as gay as when I started.”

To read more on the matter, see the article on The Raw Story, The L.A. Times, and CBS News. Image via andy.birky [Flickr].

Divorce Rates Highest in “Traditional Marriage” States

January 13th, 2010

States that have banned gay marriage generally do so under the guise of protecting traditional marriage. Unfortunately for them, it seems that traditional marriage in these areas is actually the most at risk. A new study has revealed that while divorce rates are largely going down, they are dropping the most in states that have been more open towards gay marriage. The highest divorce rates are in the states that have outrightly banned gay marriage.

The lowest divorce rate in the nation is in Massachussetts, which was also one of the first states to legalize same sex unions. The seven states with the highest divorce rates have constitutional bans on gay marriage. San Francisco family attorneys are hoping this may affect the major federal court case on the matter this month.

While the person who conducted the research has said the results are statistically significant, he is also quick to point out that the results do not necessarily imply causation.

To read more about the findings, see the article on Newser. Image Via laverrue [Flickr]

Living Together Before Marriage Can Increase Likelihood of Divorce

January 6th, 2010

Conventional wisdom tells many people that they should live together before tying the knot so they can test the waters before making a full commitment. Unfortunately, a recent study has shown this method of thinking is flawed and that waiting just might help your marriage in the long run.

While living together before marriage was once considered scandalous, it is now a widely accepted practice –in fact, over 70% of couples do co-habitate before getting hitched.

Researchers believe the increased divorce rate could be a result of couples getting married for the wrong reasons. “We think that some couples who move in together without a clear commitment to marriage may wind up sliding into marriage partly because they are already cohabiting,” said University of Denver researcher Galena Rhoades. San Francisco family attorneys say other reasons couples may opt to get married include a joint lease, mutual ownership of a pet, or an unexpected pregnancy.

Of subsets of the couples who moved in before marriage, the study found that the reason the couple moved in also affected the happiness of the couple. Those who claimed financial reasons and a desire to spend more time together had overall happier marriages and fewer divorces than those who wanted to test out living together before marriage. “Cohabiting to test a relationship turns out to be associated with the most problems in relationships,” Rhoades said. “Perhaps if a person is feeling a need to test the relationship, he or she already knows some important information about how a relationship may go over time.”

To read more about these findings, see the article on Livescience.com. Image Via dsearls [Flickr].

Facebook Major Player In Modern Divorces

December 30th, 2009

A major British legal firm says that one in five of their divorces involves Facebook in some manner. In fact, the social networking site is becoming a leading form of evidence for marital infidelity.

“I heard there were a lot of people saying they had found out things about their partners on Facebook and I decided to see how prevalent it was,” Mark Keenan, Managing Director of Divorce-Online tells the Telegraph. “I was really surprised to see 20 per cent of all the petitions containing references to Facebook.”

Keenan says the most common reason Facebook was mentioned in the divorce petitions was due to married persons having sexual chats with people outside of their marriages.

While these numbers come from across the pond, San Francisco divorce attorneys agree that the site leads many spouses to be tempted to cheat on their husbands or wives.

To read more about the issue, see the article in the New York Daily News. Image Via pmarkham [Flickr].

San Francisco Squaring Off Against Catholic Church

December 22nd, 2009

After the Cardinal William Levada instructed the Archdiocese and Catholic Charities of San Francisco to refuse to place adopted children in the homes of same-sex couples, the city of San Francisco responded with a scathing resolution against the church for these discriminatory practices. The resolution refereed to the Vatican as a foreign country that was attempting to meddle in the affairs of San Francisco and said the Catholic Church’s beliefs on homosexuality are “insulting to all San Francisians,” “hateful,” “defamatory,” “unacceptable” and “insensitive and ignorant.” The resolutions also urged Archbishop George Neiderauer and the Catholic Charities of San Francisco to defy the Vatican’s orders when it came to same-sex couples.

Now the Catholic Church has brought the issue before a federal appeals court, claiming the city unconstitutionally attacked the church by enacting the resolution. The church’s attorney claims the Constitution forbids official hostility to a religion or its doctrines, just as it forbids official endorsement of any religion. The church aims to have the resolution repealed.

The city’s attorney said the supervisors have the responsibility to support equal rights for all citizens, regardless of orientation, and thus, were entitled to criticize any group that was opposed to this goal.

While appeals Judge kozinski seemed inclined to take the city’s side on the case, the decision will not be announced until later.

Most attorneys support the constitution’s freedom of religion, but San Francisco family lawyers still seem to largely support the city’s decision in supporting adoption by same-sex parents.

To read more on the case, see the article in the SF Gate. Image Via Dimitry B [Flickr]

Elin Nordegren Plans To Divorce Tiger Woods

December 16th, 2009

Keith AllisonDespite her original statements claiming that she had planned to give Tiger a chance and try to work things out, Elin Nordegren has officially announced her plans to leave her famous husband. News about Tigers afairs with up to nine women has been circulating the globe over the last week, and while the Swedish model claims she knew that he had been unfaithful, she also believed he had stopped cheating on her.

Sources close to the couple report that she has made up her mind and will not be swayed to stay with her adulterous husband. This weekend, Elin was photographed around town not wearing her wedding ring. Reports indicate that she has been speaking with divorce attorneys in her local area regarding her prenuptial agreement and providing instructions to moving men who appeared to be removing large works of art from the couple’s home.

While adultery is not ordinarily grounds for a larger divorce settlement, San Francisco divorce attorneys say the prenuptial may make mention of unfaithfulness and have remedies in place for this situation. If so, Tiger could lose far more than 50% of his property.

To read more about Elin’s decision, see the article in People. Image Via Keith Allison [Flickr].

Shaq Attempting To Move Divorce To Florida

December 7th, 2009

Keith AllisonDays before filing for divorce, Shaquille O’Neal’s wife, Va’shaundya, moved to California, which is known for having much more generous divorce settlement laws than Florida. Shaq’s attorney has filed paperwork to bring the proceedings back to Florida, based on the fact that this was where the couple lived up until the divorce.

San Francisco divorce attorneys claim that Va’shaundya’s moving to California is a major sign that she is looking to get as much as she can out of the divorce. She has already gone on record as wanting complete custody of the children, child support and spousal support from the divorce.

The divorce was filed shortly after Va’shaundya learned about Shaq’s 5-year long affair with Laura Govan, the pregnant fiancee of Gilbert Arenas.  All signs so far point to this being a very emotional and financially straining divorce process.

To read more about the divorce, see the article in S2S Magazine. Image Via Keith Allison [Flickr].