Vaughn Walker, the Chief US District Judge overseeing the Proposition 8 trial, has been outed by a leading American newspaper.

Describing Judge Vaughn Walker’s sexuality as “the biggest open secret in the landmark trial”, the San Francisco Chronicle spoke to an unnamed federal judge who commented:

“He has a private life and he doesn’t conceal it, but doesn’t think it is relevant to his decisions in any case, and he doesn’t bring it to bear in any decisions.”

The federal trial is examining whether Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California, is constitutional.

Gay marriage was legalised in California in May 2008. Voters banned it under Proposition 8 the following November. The estimated 18,000 gay couples who were able to marry in that brief window have been allowed to remain married.

Judge Vaughn has not always been popular amongst the LGBT community. In 1982 he represented the US Olympic Committee in a successful bid to keep San Francisco’s Gay Olympics from infringing on its name, the lawsuit was widely
viewed as homophobic.

“Walker, by the way, didn’t seek out the Prop. 8 case – it was assigned to him at random,” the San Fransisco Chronicle continued.

“If the judge decides that Prop 8 is unconstitutional, supporters of the measure are sure to take it to the federal appeals court and the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.

“Kendell expects that if that happens, the measure’s proponents will make an issue of the judge’s sexual orientation.”

Testimony has ended in the case, and final arguments from both sides are expected soon.