The judge who presided over the first federal trial to challenge the constitutionality of a gay marriage ban, Judge Vaughn Walker, says he's gay.

In speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Walker, a George W. Bush appointee, commented for the first time on the rumors of his sexuality.

“He is a physician,” Walker said of the man with whom he's had a 10 year relationship, news agency Reuters reported.

He added that he never considered his sexual orientation a good reason to recuse himself from the case, which challenged the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California's 2008 voter-approved gay marriage ban.

Walker, who retired from the federal bench in February after serving six years as chief judge in the Northern District of California, was outed by the San Francisco Chronicle nearly a year earlier. Previously he had offered a polite “No comment” to questions on his sexuality.

He ruled Prop 8 unconstitutional but supporters of the law have appealed the decision. Insiders believe the case will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court, which could set national policy.

During the trial, backers of the law argued that they were placed at a “significant disadvantage” because California's gay community has powerful and influential allies, politicians and judges included among them. And concluded that the community does not need protection from the government. Walker's self outing is certain to add fodder to that argument.