Olympia – Thurston County Superior Court Judge Tabor has created some controversy of late by publicly announcing, due to ‘philosophical and religious’ reasons, he will not make himself available to perform same sex marriages despite Washington State’s recent passage of a referendum making such unions lawful. Tabor is an admitted fundamentalist Christian. He also believes in witches and prosecuting them.
RCW 26.04.050 authorizes, but doesn’t require, judges to solemnize marriages. Tabor is apparently relying on this when he says his refusal is discretionary. RCW 2.08.080 and Canon 1 of the rules for Washington State courts, however, require that judges perform the duties of their office impartially. Canon 1 also requires that judges “avoid impropriety or the appearance of impropriety.”
Is a judge that says he has and will marry heterosexuals, but, not homosexuals performing his duties impartially?
RCW 49.60.030 says Washington state citizens have the right to be free of discrimination related to their sexual orientation. Tabor apparently intends to violate this law.
Tabor’s tenure on the bench is now problematic at best. The county he serves is demographically among the gayest in the state yet he has no intention of treating gays equally.
Those appearing before him may rightly question his impartiality and wonder which other of his views he will allow to influence his decisions. Certainly members of the gay community have reason to question whether they can get justice from him. Others may understandably quail at the prospect of a man who, when deputy prosecutor, could scarcely contain his elation (during recess) after being assigned his first murder case.
It is just a matter of time before complaints against Tabor are filed with the Human Rights Commission and the Commission of Judicial Conduct and lawsuits are filed.
Taxpayers will end up paying for his defense.
But who’d want a (literally) witch hunter officiating at their wedding anyway? This guy, while deputy prosecutor for Thurston County, bragged about how he was going to be the 1st one in the country to convict a witches’ coven in the 1992 Paul Ingram case. (One can read about Mr. Tabor by searching for ‘remembering satan’ & ‘new yorker’ (Remembering Satan) to find the excellent New Yorker piece exposing this tiny little man w/the power now to sign death warrants. He was so obsessed with looking for witches, he bankrupted the Thurston County Sheriff’s budget. The Dept. had to make an emergency appeal to the State Legislature for $ to finish out the year. Yet voters elected this witch persecutor general, repeatedly, who was also a supporter and close associate of the Kiawanis Boy’s Ranch which was exposed for its longtime pattern of sexual abuse of the children residing there.
Yeah, wouldn’t anyone who really knew this guy rather have someone else officiating during the happiest day of their life? Litigants and their attorneys would be wise to move for Judge Tabor to recuse himself for all the above reasons, though he’s reportedly not (incredible as it may be) the WORST judge on Thurston’s bench. That honor, according to attorneys who practice there, goes to Judge Chris Wickham. Yet voters continue to reelect the latter as well. Should Judge Tabor refuse to step down from your case, you have one (but only one) statutory right to ‘affidavit’ a judge so long as you do so before they make any discretionary ruling. The language for accomplishing this is contained in RCW 4.12.050.