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Washington (State)

Wash. judge refuses to perform same-sex marriages for ‘religious reasons’

Saturday, January 12, 2013

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A Superior Court judge in Washington states said he refuses to officiate same-sex marriage due to his “philosophical and religious reasons.”

“I do not wish to perform same-sex marriages,” said Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor.

Gary Tabor


Tabor told The Olympian that he did not intend for his choice “to be a political or legal statement,” and that a number of other judges in the county have already made themselves available to perform same sex marriages.

He added that he is not legally required to perform such marriages.

Tabor said that, generally, he has made himself available in the past to perform marriages, but has in the past also declined to make himself available to perform certain marriages — in the Thurston County Jail, for example.

Tabor served as a deputy prosecuting attorney in Thurston County for almost 19 years before being elected Thurston County Superior Court judge in 1996, according to his biography on the court’s website.

He is a graduate of Oklahoma Christian College, which is now known as Oklahoma Christian University. OCU’s website states that its 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.”

Washington voters approved a same-sex marriage referendum in November, and the law took effect in December.

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98 more reader comments:

  1. Fire him.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:06am
  2. This man has a conflict with his CIVIL position. He should resign or be removed from the bench.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:06am
  3. Churches need to start paying taxes

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:07am
  4. Ohh I wish I had my law degree already. Your Honor you are a judge in a federal/state courthouse your relgious objections are not recognized within the confines of this office.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:08am
  5. He isn’t breaking any laws bits his right not to do marriages. He should do ANY marriages though.

    He is a major Tool, however.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:08am
  6. VOTE him OUT !

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:09am
  7. Forget him, there are others that can be found

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:09am
  8. He can go fuck himself !

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:09am
  9. Step down if you cannot perform all that is asked of you by your office.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:10am
  10. you can’t pick and choose the laws you agree with dumbass !

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:10am
  11. Then he needs to resign or be fired immediately. Religion is separate from state in this country.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:10am
  12. Impeach.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:10am
  13. So if he passes judgement on me from some offense could you appeal under grounds if discrimination ? It would seem to be the fact .

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:11am
  14. He doesn’t look long from retirement. I’d just leave it to attrition. ;-{P}

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:12am
  15. Ok, as long as same-sex marraige can be performed by other members of the court, I say give him an opt out. Backlash from the LGBT community for not performing an act that ‘conflicts with their religious beliefs’ is the argument that religious zealots have been using for their ‘religious liberty’ argument that same sex marraiges should not be legal. They can’t be allowed merit to claim that argument.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:12am
  16. if he can’t perform the duties of his office than he shouldn’t have his office.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:13am
  17. Well that’s his bigotted right I suppose

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:13am
  18. Remove him – if this is a religious reason why would he marry Straight people outside of a Church

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:13am
  19. The people voted on it and won. If you can not perform your duties then step down from your position.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:14am
  20. Thanks

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:16am
  21. He’s a judge….guess he’ll need to STEP DOWN since he refuses to uphold the law.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:17am
  22. What a douche canoe.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:17am
  23. Well, then that’s too damn bad for that Superior Court judge. That’s his call, his loss, his funeral. Same-sex marriage has already been legalized in the state of Washington, which also means equality, laws, and rights for L.G.B.T.Q. people and communities, so we can give 2 cents what that homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic nozzle of a Superior Court judge says or thinks now. Hell with him. Just forget about him and move on because he doesn’t stand up for or believe in the same things the rest of us do.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:17am
  24. Why is it always some old bald fart that couldn’t get laid with one pocket full of cocaine and the other full of hundred dollar bills?

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:19am
  25. its tha land of tha free juzz in case u 4got n who tha hell r u to tell ppl tht they can’t get married it aint like God came to u tell u not to perform same-sex marriages bcuz it was wrong…its 2013 make a freakin change

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:19am
  26. The law and the Constitution trump your ridiculous religion.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:19am
  27. ASS HOLE

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:20am
  28. I love how some people think that it’s okay to shove THEIR religion down MY throat. I do not care if your religion says no to same sex marriage. I do NOT follow your religion, so it’s rules do not apply to me. If you can’t perform your duties, step down; that way someone who is actually good at their job can do it.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:21am
  29. Don’t get why any one should have governance on someone’s life style.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:21am
  30. He’s not being asked to perform a religious ceremony. He can’t allow his religion to interfere with his legal/civil obligation.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:23am
  31. I thought religion is separated from the state in the US.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:26am
  32. TO ME THIS POOR EXCUSE WOULD BE the same as a jahovahs wittnees working at walart and refusing to sell christmas presents or anything to do with christmas because of their religious reasons…But if someone would do that,these same peoplewould be saying that would be ridiculous….

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:26am
  33. A judge? Goodness.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:27am
  34. He shouldn’t be a judge if he can’t follow the law

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:29am
  35. Hey buddy, do your fucking job!

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:30am
  36. Impeach. Being a judge is an honor to serve all citizens. He should become a preacher instead, then he can use his religious views to refuse. His religious views have no room in his government job.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:33am
  37. Seperation of church and state, wow just does not seem to happen. In most situations, if you have a job and for some reason cannot do it, you then don’t have one!!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:35am
  38. Then he should be fired.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:36am
  39. Interesting that a judge believes he is above the law.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:40am
  40. Henry you are correct he needs to be removed from office. He is refusing to perform a state required task. If he is that religious then he should be in that position to begin with.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:44am
  41. If he feels incapable of doing his job, he should resign his position.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:44am
  42. What does religion have to do with anything.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:48am
  43. Someone needs to shove something so far… oh I forgot where I was for a sec lol

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:50am
  44. Well then he should resign and become a priest

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:53am
  45. I wouldn’t want that judge to marry me anyway!

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:56am
  46. He should be “fired” and removed from the bench. He is paid by hard earned money of the citizens of Washington State called tax dollars and he is suppose to do his job impartially that is part of the job description. He is to serve out his duties to all the citizens of Washington State, not just a few. One of those duties is performing same-sex marriage rites. In essence he is shirking his duties and should be held accountable, pure and simple.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:57am
  47. What religion is that. Is that religion a follower of Jesus? If it is go back and reread the book.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:58am
  48. Koo Koo for Coco puffs.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:59am
  49. Its people like that who give the rest of us Christians a bad name. I am still trying to find the passage in the Bible where God tells us to judge for him. Oh wait, its cuz it doesnt exsist!!! GO GAY MARRIAGE EQUALITY FOR ALL!!!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:59am
  50. He’s a public servant and therefore he doesn’t have choice in this as far as I can tell. However, he does know the laws better than I. The good news is that he’s right. There are others who are willing to take on the responsibility.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:02pm
  51. He’s a public servant and therefore he doesn’t have choice in this as far as I can tell. However, he does know the laws better than I. The good news is that he’s right. There are others who are willing to take on the responsibility.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:02pm
  52. Hmmmm…… Should this joker even be on tue bench?

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:05pm
  53. Hmmmm…… Should this joker even be on tue bench?

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:05pm
  54. Activist judge……LOL

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:07pm
  55. Activist judge……LOL

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:07pm
  56. Separation of church & state! Sound familiar?

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:09pm
  57. Separation of church & state! Sound familiar?

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:09pm
  58. Shame!

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:11pm
  59. Shame!

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:11pm
  60. Let the dumbass be a bigot.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:19pm
  61. Let the dumbass be a bigot.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:19pm
  62. D BAG OF THE MONTH!

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:24pm
  63. D BAG OF THE MONTH!

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:24pm
  64. Don’t vote him out. Arrest him immediately, and appoint him a public defender.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:26pm
  65. Don’t vote him out. Arrest him immediately, and appoint him a public defender.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:26pm
  66. Look, he has the right to abstain from a practice that goes against his religion. PERIOD. There are plenty of other JPs that will officiate. He isn’t the only guy in Washington that has the ability to marry people. This is why the government should have no place in marriage, any marriage.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:31pm
  67. His job is to see to the justice and dignity of all people not just those he agrees with. He needs to be removed immediately.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:32pm
  68. As much as I think the man is stupid, and probably a bigot, it SHOULD be his right to say “hey. This is against my religious beliefs. I won’t do ___.” Otherwise, our system will discriminate and lose potentially great people from serving because of their religious beliefs. We absolutely can’t tell someone that they HAVE to do something against their religious beliefs. Our system of government was designed this way for a reason. He even clearly says this is not a political stand, and there are other judges available. He just can’t reconcile that with his beliefs.

    It’s stupid, but it’s right.

    I mean, if the giant spaghetti monster told me that I can’t shake left-handed people’s hands, that’s pretty offensive to leftie’s. But it is my right to believe in the spaghetti monster and live my life as closley to It’s word. It would be unjust for you to tell me that I HAVE to go against my religion–that would be the same as telling someone they HAVE to worship the spaghetti monster.

    It’s against what we stand for in America. So, yeah, the guy has screwed up religious beliefs. But that’s his right; to believe in nonsense.

    In America, you can’t tell someone they have to do something that goes against their religious beliefs. Just like no one has the right to tell me that I do have to do something, in accordance with someone else’s religious beliefs. There are other judges out there–go to them. As much as I dislike this man, you can’t force him to change his religion. It’s against the law.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:38pm
  69. Then remove him from the bench

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:40pm
  70. His post is not a religious post. He is a public servant – to serve ALL of the public, bound to abide by the laws of his state. Separation of church and state must be upheld. If he cannot perform his duties based on his faith, then he cannot perform his job. He needs to be removed.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:41pm
  71. He is obligated. He’s supposed to serve us all, not pick and choose.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:52pm
  72. Asshole!

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:53pm
  73. He works for the Government not a Religion… fire the jerk let him go be a pastor/etc.. if he has objections

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:56pm
  74. What’s going on?

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:58pm
  75. He shouldn’t be a judge if he can’t perform the duties of his office.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 1:08pm
  76. Remove him from office and keep his retirement fund since he is breaking the law and should be thrown in jail!!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 1:19pm
  77. Sarah Castle — You’re forgetting who is paying his salary and for whom he works — it’s the people. Also, what about separation of church and state? The people pay the government he works for. He has duties. He swore on a bible that he would uphold the law!

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 1:22pm
  78. ANOTHER psychotic on “The Wrong Side of History”….I’ll bet anyone he also has an ARSENAL of Assualt Weapons at home, too! :-(

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 1:29pm
  79. As a Public Official of the Judiciary Branch, this Judge has NO CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to impose his CONDUCT on any American citizen because of his religious beliefs. This is OUTRAGEOUS, and he should be brought up on charges and prosecuted by the State of Washington Department of Justice and the State Attorney General.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 1:34pm
  80. What about separating church and state????????????????????????

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 1:43pm
  81. you have to wonder how his bigotry will influence other decisions in his court?

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 1:44pm
  82. He is a judge, not clergy – so he should be fired.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 1:51pm
  83. What religion is he — Baptist????

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 1:53pm
  84. If he was the only judge in the state then his actions might be wrong. However, I am sure the engaged couples can find a judge, clergy, etc. who would be happy to perform their marriage ceremony. Lastly, I wouldn’t want someone like him in the room let alone performing my ceremony.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 2:14pm
  85. He needs to be disbarred if he will not support the law.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 2:17pm
  86. do your job or get fired.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 2:19pm
  87. Write him up a Pink slip and final paycheck.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 2:31pm
  88. He needs to choose his job or his religious convictions. He doesn’t have the right to hold his seat as a judge if he can’t separate the two.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 3:04pm
  89. Yes, so when’s he gonna be fired?

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 3:30pm
  90. Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 3:51pm
  91. fire his ass

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 5:08pm
  92. u r not supposed to bring ur own bias and personal beliefs into the work place.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 6:25pm
  93. This piece of shit, asshat, fucktard scumbag should have his fat, bald, ugly, pompous, buy-bull thumping white ass fired. He should know the meaning of separation of church and state better than anyone and if he can’t follow the law he should be gone…

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 6:34pm
  94. As Judge it is his duty to carry out the law. He is NOT a Minister so it is not his duty to over rule law to practice religion on a whim. It should cost him his seat. I believe when they swore him in, he promised to uphold the LAW.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 7:54pm
  95. I guess he needs to go back to being just a lawyer then as he is violating constitutional rights.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:32pm
  96. then he needs to either step down or be removed from office. his religious views dont count and shouldnt come into play. if he wants to say that he should become a priest.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:54pm
  97. then he needs to either step down or be removed from office. his religious views dont count and shouldnt come into play. if he wants to say that he should become a priest.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:54pm
  98. If you don’t want to do your job, then consider it gone. Quit wasting your time and taxpayer money.

    Posted on Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 10:21am