Target: Ethics Board Director Richard Dove
Goal: Praise ruling that prevents judges from refusing to marry same-sex couples.
After the long-awaited Supreme Court decision to stop bans on same-sex marriages passed with support from all over the country, including by the ForceChange community, the struggle moved onto the individual level where priests and judges could still refuse to marry couples seeking their equal rights. Recently, after many were fighting to continue their ban on same-sex marriages, the ethics board in Ohio stated that judges cannot perform civil marriages on heterosexual couples and deny the same rights to homosexual couples, showing another step in marriage equality.
While the opinion is nonbinding, is does give the board more leverage when complaints are filed against judge if they refuse to perform a service. It states that judges cannot deny marrying a couple based on their personal, moral or religious beliefs and must stand with the judicial oath of office and the law, which finally says all states must allow same-sex marriages to occur. It also states that judges who do attempt to refuse this right to same-sex couples will have to remove themselves from cases involving sexual orientation in the future since they could be perceived as biased.
Judges are supposed to be the voice of the law, despite personal belief, and this ruling that is spreading into many states, including Arizona, Louisiana, Nebraska and Pennsylvania, is the right step following the Supreme Court ruling that is protecting human rights and properly separating church and state. Thank you Richard Dove, Board Director, for continuing to remind people that judges must perform their duties based on the laws and the rights of people, and not their individual prejudices.
Dear Richard Dove,
Denying same-sex couples the right of a legal marriage has been a plague on this country for far too long, and now that the Supreme Court has made banning it illegal, it is the duty of judges to perform these services no matter their personal feelings, but this has not necessarily been the case since the ruling passed.
The opinion put out by the board saying that judges must follow the law and give the same rights to all is a vital step in continuing to remind the community that lawmakers must enforce the law and that human rights should be protected by the government and the people who have agreed to serve it.
Thank you for holding judges to this standard and preventing those who neglect their duties from affecting the lives of same-sex couples in the future. Judges are not supposed to involve personal opinions in other cases, and it should be the same when it comes to marriage equality.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Stephen Luke