A Washington state judge has refused to
marry gay and lesbian couples.
Couples began marrying on December 9
following the November 6 passage of Referendum 74, which upheld a gay
marriage law approved by lawmakers. (County clerks began issuing
marriage licenses on December 6. However, the state imposes a 3-day
According to Seattle
Gay News (SGN), Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor
has notified court personnel that he will not officiate over the
weddings of gay couples.
SGN reported that Tabor said that he
would “not be comfortable” marrying gay couples during a December
5 meeting of judges and administrative staff.
A spokesperson for Presiding Judge H.
Christopher Wickham told SGN that “this is just an availability
issue, nothing more than that.”
“Judges take weddings as available,”
Superior Court administrator Marti Maxwell said. “Some only do
evenings, some only do weekends, some will even take out-of-county
weddings. My boss [Wickham] says it's not county business, it's not
court business – it's up to the judge.”
But while the state's marriage law
includes exemptions for religious officials who oppose such unions,
judges may not opt out of performing their duties.