The rumors appear to be true: Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker is gay. Opponents of gay marriage appear to be keeping mum on the issue – for now.

Walker is about to rule on the first federal trial to decide the constitutionality of a gay marriage ban.

Suggestions of Walker's orientation peeked out on several gay blogs throughout the January trial, including at Michael Petrelis' blog Petrelis Files: “On several occasion, Walker, who I think could be a fab host at a piano in a swank cafe, would make a funny comment or joke from the bench, bringing forth many laughs and alleviating my boredom.”

But Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle verified for the first time that Walker is gay.

“The biggest open secret in the landmark trial over same-sex marriage being heard in San Francisco is that the federal judge who will decide the case, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, is himself gay,” the paper wrote.

The paper cited a friend of Walker's – also a federal judge – as saying that Walker does not conceal being gay, but believes the subject is private.

“He has a private life and he doesn't conceal it, but doesn't think it is relevant to his decisions in any case, and he doesn't bring it to bear in any decisions,” the unidentified judge said.

When asked for comment, proponents of Proposition 8, California's gay marriage ban, refused to comment.

“We are not going to say anything about that,” Andy Pugno, general council for, the group behind Proposition 8, said.

Pugno, however, did say he felt his side did not receive a fair shake in Judge Walker's courtroom.

“In many ways, the sponsors of Prop. 8 have been put at significant disadvantage throughout the case. Regardless of the reason for it,” Pugno said.

But during the trial, the defense made the argument that California's gay community has powerful and influential allies, openly gay politicians and judges included among them. And concluded that the community does not need protection from the government.