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The judge deciding what could become a landmark gay marriage case in Virginia defies easy characterization.
U.S. District Court Judge Arenda Wright Allen was a prosecutor and a public defender. Liberals may like that the 53-year-old was appointed by President Barack Obama, while conservatives may like her years of service as a Navy officer and prosecutor.
She's been on the federal bench for fewer than three years and is now overseeing the highest-profile case of her judicial career: a lawsuit seeking to overturn Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage.
Defense lawyers and prosecutors praise her as smart and open-minded, adding that her breadth of experience makes her difficult to pigeonhole.
At Tuesday's hearing, Wright Allen did not tip her hand, promising only that she would rule soon.
Former state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and the ACLU are supporting legislation that would limit the ability of law-enforcement and regulatory agencies to collect information and build databases without a warrant.