The possibility of having the first federal case to challenge the constitutionality of a gay marriage ban televised will be considered in California next week, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker will explore the possibility of allowing cameras in the courtroom during a January 6 hearing. Walker is acting after a pilot program that would for the first time allow cameras in civil trials was approved last week by the governing body for federal courts in Western states.

The trial of Proposition 8, the voter-approved measure that placed a gay marriage ban in the California Constitution and trumped a state Supreme Court ruling that granted gay couples the right to marry, is set to begin on January 11 before Judge Walker in San Francisco.

Opponents of the gay marriage ban say they welcome the opportunity to have the trial – which is expected to last a month – broadcast. Supporter of Proposition 8, however, have protested the idea, saying it posed a potential threat to trial participants.

Kristin Perry v Arnold Schwarzenegger is the first such case to be heard in a federal courtroom, but three more are wending their way through the courts, including a suit brought by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who is campaigning for the Senate seat vacated by the late Senator Ted Kennedy.