Law unclear on judges’ obligation to officiate at gay couples' weddings

The Seattle Times
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January 17, 2013

Washington’s amended marriage law exempts pastors, rabbis, Imams and other clergy from having to perform same-sex weddings if they aren’t so moved. But for judges, justices and some court commissioners, who are also authorized to marry people in this state, the law is much less clear. Weeks after same-sex marriage became legal in Washington, questions are being raised over what obligations — if any — judges have to marry gay couples when doing so assails their own religious or other personal beliefs. In the days before the state’s same-sex marriage law took effect last month, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor told fellow judges and his staff that he was not comfortable marrying gay couples. Along with the court’s seven other judges, he is on a weekly rotation to perform marriages outside court hours.