By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A preliminary hearing has been set for December 16th for three people charged in an attack on a same-sex couple in center city Philadelphia earlier this month.

READ MORE: Temple University Student Samuel Sean Collington Killed In Off-Campus Shooting In North Philadelphia

The preliminary hearing for defendants Philip Williams, Kevin Harrigan, and Katherine Knott will be the first court test of the prosecution’s evidence in a case that has drawn national attention.

The two men were allegedly attacked — one held down and beaten — and targeted with gay slurs during a chance meeting on the street with a large group of people out celebrating a birthday.

The defense contends this wasn’t about sexual orientation, it was a mutual confrontation on the street.

READ MORE: Officials Introduce People Over Politics Petition Calling For Change In Rules For Pennsylvania Politicians

Defense attorney Fortunato Perri Jr. represents Williams.

“Fortunately for my client, we will now have an opportunity to present this case fairly in a court of law, as opposed to the court of public opinion,” Perri said today.

The defendants were not in court for the brief scheduling hearing.

MORE NEWS: WATCH LIVE: Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni To Speak With Media Following Loss To New York Giants