A federal judge on Wednesday decided to consolidate two lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of Oregon's ban on gay marriage.

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane scheduled oral arguments in the case for April 23.

The first lawsuit was filed in October and the second followed two months later.

A petition drive to repeal the ban is being spearheaded by the group Oregon United for Marriage. The group announced last month that it had hit its goal of 116,284 signatures to qualify for the 2014 ballot.

If successful, the referendum would reverse the state's 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples and Oregon would make history as the first state to repeal such a ban.

David Fidanque, executive director of the ACLU of Oregon, which represents two of the three plaintiff couples, said the group was committed to bringing marriage equality to Oregon “as quickly as possible and doing it in a way that permanently solves the problem.”

“And that's why we're pursuing the parallel tracks of the court action and the ballot measure. It's important to get the constitutional ban out of the state constitution even if the litigation is successful,” he told the AP.

Oregon currently recognizes the out-of-state legal marriages of gay couples.