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Same-sex marriage ruling upheld in Calif.

Former U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker is shown in an undated photo.

June 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A federal judge upheld a gay judge's ruling to strike down California's same-sex marriage ban on Tuesday.

Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware issued the decision following a hearing in San Francisco Monday. He determined former Judge Vaughn Walker's sexual orientation was not relevant over his ruling on Proposition 8.

Following the ruling last year, Walker retired and announced he'd been in a long-term same-sex relationship. Lawyers for Prop 8 supporters argued that Walker should have recused himself or disclosed his relationship because he and his partner stood to personally benefit from the verdict.

Ware said it wasn't necessary for Walker to divulge whether he wanted to marry his partner prior to declaring the voter-approved Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

Ware said the ruling by Walker, who did not attend Monday's hearing, raised important questions and called it the first case in which a judge's same-sex relationship had led to calls for disqualification.

He said there probably were similar struggles when race and gender were the issues.

The Associated Press contributed to this story