State judge admonished over gay-wedding comment

OLYMPIA — A Thurston County Superior Court judge has been formally admonished for saying he wouldn’t perform gay marriages.

Judge Gary Tabor first made the comments during an administrative meeting shortly before Washington’s gay marriage law took effect late last year. He told colleagues he wasn’t comfortable performing same-sex weddings and asked if other judges would do it in his stead.

His comments were leaked to the press, and Tabor reiterated his position in interviews, saying it was a personal religious objection and not an official stance of the court.

The state’s Judicial Conduct Commission noted that judges aren’t obligated to perform any weddings, but if they do, they can’t discriminate against same-sex couples because Washington law forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation. The commission noted that at the time, Tabor did perform opposite-sex weddings.

The commission issued the admonishment Friday as part of a stipulation with Tabor. An admonishment is essentially a warning.

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