The US Supreme Court has ruled, with a 5-4 majority, that the trial challenging California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage may not be broadcast.

This comes after the the judge in the case, Chief US District Judge Vaughn Walker, ruled that a delayed broadcast on the Internet would be allowed.

The ruling comes as a blow to the supporters of same-sex marriage who hoped to allow the public to see the proceedings of the trial.

Those fighting to keep the Prop 8 ban had argued that witnesses opposed to gay marriage could be intimidated if their testimony was broadcast.

“The Supreme Court just struck a huge blow against transparency and accountability,” said Rick Jacobs, chairman of the Courage Campaign, a gay rights organisation fighting to repeal Prop 8.

“This historic trial will remain largely hidden from public view, despite its historic potential to challenge and change the minds of Americans.”

Two same-sex couples, supported by LGBT groups and the city of San Francisco, are suing to overturn the Proposition 8 ban which was voted into law by Californian voters in November 2008. The trial is underway and is expected to last a number of weeks.

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