US: Washington Judge says he will not perform same-sex wedding ceremonies

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A Washington County Judge said he would not make himself available to perform same-sex weddings, citing “philosophical and religious reasons.”

Thurston County Superior Court Judge, Gary Tabor, confirmed that he was opposed to performing the ceremonies, despite Washington State legalising equal marriage back in November.

Judge Tabor said: “I do not wish to perform same-sex marriages,” reports the Olympian.

He served as a deputy prosecuting attorney in Thurston County, Washington, for almost nineteen years before being elected to his current position in 1996.

He was a graduate of Oklahoma Christian College, now known as Oklahoma Christian University.

The OCU’s website states that members “strive to treat our bodies with the honor due the temple of the Holy Spirit — honoring God’s plan that sexual relations be a part of a marriage between a man and a woman, dressing modestly, and avoiding any self-destructive practices.”

In an interview on Monday, the judge said he did not intend his choice as “a political or legal statement.” He went on to say that a number of judges in the county had made themselves available to perform the marriage ceremonies.

He also said he was not legally required to perform such marriages, and that he had generally made himself available to perform marriages in the past, but that he declined other specific types of marriage ceremonies, such as those in the Thurston County Jail.

“I very much understand what the law is,” Tabor said, adding that if an issue arose, “I would do what the law requires.”

Kim Ridgway of Olympia, who married longtime partner Kim Bliss in Thurston County Superior Court on Dec. 9, said Tuesday that Tabor is “entitled to his beliefs.”

“One person’s short-sightedness isn’t going to prevent same-sex couples from getting married,” she said. “It’s not going to take away from their joy and happiness.”

Ridgway said she and her partner were married by Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon, who told the couple he was “honoured” to perform one of the first same-sex marriages in the state.

Thurston County held a lottery and selected ten Washington couples to be among the first in three newly legalised US states to receive marriage licenses, as the new equal marriage law came into effect at 12.01am on 6 December 2012.