April 28, 2010 / 11:54 PM / in 7 years

California gay marriage ban trial to close in June

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The federal trial over California’s gay marriage ban moves to closing arguments in June, advocates from both sides of the case said on Wednesday.

Judge Vaughn Walker tentatively set the date for June 16, said Andrew Pugno, a lawyer for the coalition defending the ban passed by voters in 2008. Gay rights activists also said the hearing would be in June, with the date subject to agreement between the judge and lawyers.

California, with its liberal, trendsetting reputation, shocked gay rights activists around the nation by voting in the ban that spurred the current case. Only a handful of U.S. states allow gay marriage, and most specifically bar it.

Lawyers opposing the California ban say it breaks U.S. constitutional protections of equal treatment and due process, while backers say the people of the state are well within their rights to maintain the historical definition of marriage.

The case, which began in January, will set national precedent since it is on U.S. Constitutional grounds, and any decision by the district court is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.

Reporting by Peter Henderson; Editing by Anthony Boadle

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