Judge should resign over marriage stand

OlympiaJanuary 18, 2013 

Judge Gary Tabor says he has and will perform heterosexual marriages, but he will not officiate at gay marriages for “philosophical and religious reasons.” He should resign his office.

RCW 26.04.050 authorizes but doesn’t require judges to solemnize marriages. Tabor is apparently relying on this when he says his refusal is legal. RCW 2.08.080 and Canon 1 of the rules for Washington state courts, however, require that judges perform the duties of their office impartially. Canon 1 also requires that judges “avoid impropriety or the appearance of impropriety.”

Is a judge that says he has and will marry heterosexuals but not homosexuals performing his duties impartially? Clearly not.

RCW 49.60.030 says Washington state citizens have the right to be free of discrimination related to their sexual orientation. Tabor apparently intends to violate this law. That is clearly improper.

Tabor’s tenure on the bench is now problematic at best. The county he serves is demographically among the gayest in the state yet he has no intention of treating gays equally.

Those appearing before him may rightly question his impartiality and wonder which other of his views he will allow to influence his decisions. Certainly members of the gay community have reason to question whether they can get justice from him.

It is just a matter of time before complaints against Tabor are filed with the Human Rights Commission and the Commission of Judicial Conduct and lawsuits are filed.

Taxpayers will end up paying for his defense.

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