An Oregon judge is under investigation after refusing to perform same-sex marriages because of “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
According to reports, Marion County Judge Vance Day is currently being investigated by a judicial fitness commission over his refusal to perform same-sex marriages on religious grounds.
A spokesman for Judge Day said that when same-sex marriage became legal in Oregon the judge informed his staff to refer couples seeking all marriages to other county judges.
Currently Judge Day is under investigation by the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability which looks at whether judges violate the judicial code of conduct.
Judge Day’s spokesman said the issue of same-sex weddings is “the weightiest” of several allegations against Day that are being investigated by the commission.
On Thursday, the commission gave Day permission to create a legal defense fund for himself in order to cover such expenses he expects to incur during the investigation.
Amy Herzfeld, speaking for Basic Rights Oregon, said:
It is surprising to see this news in Oregon because we have such strong values around fairness and equity. We really believe in the golden rule, that folks should be treated the way you would want to be treated yourself. So it’s concerning anytime we feel there’s discrimination against the community.
Judge Day, a conservative Christian who claims his religious beliefs don’t allow him to marry same-sex partners, is the former chair of Oregon’s Republican Party.
Possible outcomes of the investigation include a dismissal of the charges, censure, suspension, or the removal of Judge Day.