A federal judge in San Francisco announced Wednesday that he will allow television broadcasting of a trial that begins next Monday on a lawsuit challenging California's same-sex marriage ban.
U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said, "I think it's worth attempting in a case of this nature and of this public interest."
Broadcasting of federal trials has previously been prohibited, but last month a federal appeals court judicial council authorized a pilot program to broadcast some non-jury civil trials in western states.
The same-sex marriage trial, which is expected to last two to three weeks, will be the first to be broadcast under the new rule.
The recording would be done by court staff members and would be posted after a delay on YouTube, where it would be publicly available.
Walker turned down an offer by In Session, formerly known as Court TV, to do professional recording and broadcasting. The judge said, "I think it's important for the process to be completely under the court's control."
The judge said he will halt the broadcasting if it turns out to be distracting or to cause problems.
Walker said the broadcasting plan will require the approval of 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Alex Kozinski.
The trial, which will be heard by Walker without a jury, will be on a lawsuit in which two same-sex couples claim that California's ban on gay and lesbian marriage violates their federal constitutional rights. The ban was enacted by state voters in 2008 as Proposition 8.
Theodore Boutrous, a lawyer for the plaintiffs argued, that the trial was ideal for broadcasting because of its "extraordinary public interest."
Michael Kirk, a lawyer for the sponsors of Proposition 8, said his clients opposed broadcasting because they believe some witnesses may be intimidated by cameras.