A coalition of television networks and newspapers asked a federal judge in San Francisco Monday for permission to televise next month's trial on the constitutionality of California's same-sex marriage ban.
Ten media organizations sent U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker a letter saying they would like to provide gavel-to-gavel broadcast and webcast coverage of the trial, scheduled to begin Jan. 11.
Pool coverage would be handled by In Session, formerly known as Court TV, the letter said.
The coalition's attorney, Thomas Burke, wrote, "We appreciate the court's attention to this matter and look forward to the opportunity to provide coverage of these historic proceedings."
The trial, which Walker is scheduled to preside over without a jury, will be on a civil lawsuit filed by two same-sex couples in May to challenge the ban enacted by voters last year as Proposition 8.
The trial is expected to last several weeks. The couples claim Proposition 8 violates their federal constitutional rights to equal protection and due process.
In addition to In Session, media participating in the broadcast request are ABC News, KGO-TV, KABC-TV, Cable News Network, Fox News, NBC News, CBS News, Hearst Corp. and Dow Jones & Co.
If Walker approves the broadcast request, the case could be the first federal trial in western states to be televised.
The request follows an announcement in which Judicial Council of 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Thursday that it has approved an experimental pilot program for the use of cameras in federal trial courts, known as district courts, in nine western states.
The council said cameras will be allowed only in nonjury civil trials and cases will be chosen by the chief judge of each district court in consultation with Chief 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski.
Walker, who is chief judge of the Northern District of California, said during a pretrial hearing Wednesday that he would consider allowing cameras at the Proposition 8 trial.
Rules and procedures for cameras in the federal courtrooms have not yet been established.