Judge Proposes June 16 for Date of Prop 8 Closing Arguments

The federal judge who will be ruling on California's landmark gay marriage case has proposed that closing arguments in Perry v. Schwarzenegger be held on June 16 at 10 a.m.

"The parties are to inform the court clerk promptly if that date is not agreeable," read an announcement posted this past week on the website of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

"No information is currently available as to the length or duration of the arguments," it added.

The announcement comes nearly four months after testimonies in the case wrapped up before Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker.

Walker, who must determine if California's voter-approved marriage definition violates the U.S. Constitution, wanted time to review all the evidence before hearing closing arguments.

That time was extended further than anticipated, however, as the two sides wrestled over internal documents from the Proposition 8 campaign that were – until recently – withheld by the plaintiff's side.

Though at least one hurdle remains before closing arguments are heard, supporters and opponents of California's Prop 8 are looking to finally receive a ruling on the highly publicized case, which will determine whether gay marriage is a constitutional right and, in effect, whether the passing of Prop 8 violates that right.

On Friday, Ron Prentice of the California Family Council urged Prop 8 supporters to pray that Walker "will render his decision in accordance with the facts of the case and the precedents of case law."

Regardless of how Walker rules, however, the decision is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could end up determining whether gay Americans have a right to marry.

Prop 8, which was passed by California voters in 2008 by a 52 percent vote, effectively defined marriage in the state's constitution as the union of one man and one woman.

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