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Ohio advises judges to stop trying to sidestep gay marriage
Ohio high court's professionsstandards board says shutting down all civil marriages isn't an option either
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


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M.L. Schultze
 
Teh refusal of Ohio to recognize the marriage of Jim Obergefell and John Arthur on Arthur's death certificate led to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
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Ohio judges have now been formally advised not to refuse to marry same sex-couples – regardless of their personal feelings. And, as WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports, today’s opinion applies to judges who stop performing all civil marriages to try to get around that.

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The Ohio Supreme Court’s professional conduct board says it’s unethical for judges to refuse to perform the ceremonies because of their personal, moral or religious beliefs.

The board started getting questions virtually from the day in late June that the U.S. Supreme Court found gay-marriage is a constitutional right. Some judges refused to perform same-sex marriages; others stopped performing any of them. The advice warns them to cut that out.

It notes that judges take oaths to uphold the U.S. and Ohio constitutions “faithfully and impartially,” and says judges who won’t perform same-sex marriages violate their oaths. As for those who shut down all ceremonies, the opinion says they’re violating the intent of the law that gives them the authority to perform marriages. And in the process, they’re hurting people and their perceptions of the court.

It also notes that the refusals could “raise reasonable questions” about whether a judge can be fair in any legal proceeding in which sexual orientation is an issue.

 

 
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