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Judges Who Wed Couples Can’t Refuse Same-Sex Unions, ABA Ethics Opinion Says - Family Law News

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Family Law News

Posted on: May 2, 2019

From the ABA Journal:

Judges who perform marriages may not refuse to perform them for same-sex couples, according to a Formal Ethics Opinion from the ABA’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility released Feb. 14. Judges not only must follow the law but also must act impartially and free from bias or prejudice, the opinion explains. The same anti-discrimination requirement applies even if judges perform marriages for only friends and family members. 

Formal Ethics Opinion 485 relies on several provisions of the Model Code of Judicial Conduct to support its conclusions, including Model Rule 1.1, which provides that “a judge shall comply with the law, including the Code of Judicial Conduct.” Additionally, Model Rule 2.2 requires a judge to “uphold and apply the law” and to “perform all duties of judicial office fairly and impartially.” Furthermore, Model Rule 2.3(A) provides that “a judge shall perform the duties of judicial office, including administrative duties, without bias or prejudice.”

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This article was submitted by Alex Miller, Wanzer Edwards PC. If you would like to submit content or write an article for the Family Law Section, please email Kara Sikorski at


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