Supporters of California's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, are appealing a ruling that upheld a gay judge's decision declaring the ban unconstitutional, Reuters reported.

Last month, U.S. District Judge James Ware ruled against a motion filed by Protect Marriage, the coalition of socially conservative groups defending the law, asking him to invalidate Judge Vaughn Walker's August, 2010 ruling overturning the 2008 voter-approved ban because Walker has since acknowledged that he's gay and in a ten-year relationship with a physician.

The 67-year-old Walker acknowledged that he's gay after he retired from the bench.

Ware rejected lawyers' arguments that Walker should have recused himself because he's in a same-sex relationship and stood to personally benefit from the verdict. Ware said Walker's sexual orientation did not create a conflict of interest and upheld his successor's ruling.

Lawyers representing the two gay couples challenging Prop 8 labeled the legal tactic a “smear campaign.”

“The only thing surprising about this development is doing so in the face of such a well-reasoned opinion,” said attorney Matthew McGill.