Lawyers for backers of California’s ban on same-sex marriage have continued to attack the District Court judge who found against them, first saying he was unfit to hear the case because he is gay, and now claiming he could be considered a beneficiary of his own ruling because he is in a same-sex relationship.

“Only if Chief Judge Walker had unequivocally disavowed any interest in marrying his partner could the parties and the public be confident that he did not have a direct personal interest in the outcome of the case,” lawyers for a coalition of religious groups fighting to prevent marriage equality in the state said.

Walker had previously said his sexual orientation was no more a reason to remove himself from a case than was another judge’s race or gender.

In related news, the law firm that was to represent the Republican-dominated US House of Representatives in keeping the federal Defence of Marriage Act has refused the case after consideration. As a result, the lawyer who was to represent it, Paul Clement, has quit the firm. Clement, US solicitor general during George W Bush’s presidency, will represent the House of Representatives without the firm’s backing.

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