The federal judge who struck down California's gay marriage ban has confirmed that he's gay.
Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker retired in February, several months after his landmark decision that's being challenged in an appeals court.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Walker told reporters Wednesday that he never considered recusing himself from the case because he believes his sexual orientation was irrelevant in deciding the constitutionality of Proposition 8. It's the first time that Walker confirmed longtime rumors that he's gay.
He says a judge stepping aside because of sexuality, ethnicity, national origin or gender would be "a very slippery slope."
The former corporate lawyer was appointed to the bench by President George H.W. Bush. Since retiring, he's returned to private law practice, specializing mediation and arbitration.
Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle
© 2011 The Associated Press.