State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 90-05
Is solemnizing marriages, as authorized by RCW 26.04.050 one of the judicial duties referred to in CJC Canon 3?
Is it proper under the Code of Judicial Conduct to solemnize a marriage during regular court hours? Whether or not a fee is accepted?
If solemnizing marriages is one of the CJC Canon 3 judicial duties, is it proper to accept any fee or gratuity, whether or not the marriage is solemnized outside of regular court hours?
The solemnization of marriages is not one of the judicial duties addressed in CJC Canon 3 but is an extrajudicial activity governed by CJC Canon 5 and more particularly, CJC Canon 5(C)(8).
It is proper under the Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 5(C)(8) for a judge to solemnize a marriage during regular court hours so long as it does not conflict with the performance of the judicial duties of the judge. It is not proper, however, for a judge to accept a fee or gratuity for the solemnization of a marriage during regular court hours.
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