An anonymous New York judge asked the New York Ethics Committee whether a judge can refuse to conduct the marriage of a gay couple? While the committee did not let its yes mean yes or its no mean no, Rob Vischer at Mirror of Justice says they did “opine that the judge could choose to conduct only those weddings of his relatives and friends . . . tantamount, in the committee’s view, to refusing to conduct marriages ‘on a facially neutral basis’ and the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct do not require a judge to conduct weddings”:

“In the committee’s view, the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct do not, by their terms, require judges to perform marriages. Accordingly, unless a judge is required by law to perform marriages, the committee sees no impropriety if a judge declines to conduct all marriages. Similarly, it is permissible for a judge to consistently decline to conduct marriages for anyone who is not a friend or relative as such a policy honors the judge’s time constraints and does not raise reasonable questions about invidious discrimination, bias or prejudice.”

Read the committee’s entire response here

Articles by Mark Misulia

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