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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Friday, August 14, 2015

Toledo Judge Refuses to Perform Same Sex Marriage

Since the SCOTUS made marriage equality a fundamental constitutional right in June, a handful of judges in Ohio have refused to perform civil wedding ceremonies. One judge in particular, Toledo Municipal Judge C. Allen McConnell, cited his deeply held personal Christian beliefs when refusing to marry a non-traditional couple.

Another Ohio judge now simply refuses to perform any wedding ceremonies. His position is that by refusing to perform this function of his job, he is at least treating all individuals in the same manner.

This has led to the issuance of a judicial ethics opinion from Ohio's Board of Professional Conduct. In sum, the opinion says that judges must follow the laws when executing their judicial functions and that they must do so impartially, without bias or prejudice, keeping their own personal views out of the process.

The ethics opinion states:
Judges are further advised that personal, moral, or religious beliefs should not be a factor ... and to be aware of the impact that a decision to decline to perform all civil marriages may have on the public’s perception of the judiciary.
This language suggests that simply refusing to perform a sanctioned function, i.e. marriages, is not a solution.

There will be many other instances in the courthouses, schools and workplaces across the country where marriage equality is not accepted by those in charge.  If you have experienced discrimination in this manner, contact our law firm to discuss your options.

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