Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco, championed as a key civil rights figure after overturning California's same-sex marriage ban, will retire next Friday. KTVU reports: "The court released a statement from the letter in which Walker wrote, 'Concluding 21 years of judicial service, I leave the bench with the highest respect and regard for the federal judiciary, its judges and their staff and the essential role they fulfill in our constitutional system.'"

U.S. District Judge James Ware of San Jose will take his place as chief judge.

Walker caused a minor stir when, after anti-gay zealots got wind of his sexual nature, it was revealed that he was gay. (Allegedly.)