Judge Under Scrutiny for Avoiding Same-Sex Marriage Applicants

News: Government
by Rodney Pelletier  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  January 30, 2016   

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SALEM, Ore. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Marion County Circuit Judge Vance Day is being accused of denying to do same-sex weddings and other improprieties by an Oregon state commission.

The nine-person panel, made up of judges, lawyers, and citizens, met on Monday, accusing Judge Day of screening same-sex applicants for marriage, putting up a portrait of Hitler, denying court staff lunch breaks, referring to participants in Veterans Treatment Court as "raggedy asses," and becoming too involved with a veteran and his family.

The commission's main complaint, however, revolves around the fact that Day had asked staff to check his schedule before performing a wedding and having his staff investigate if it was between a same-sex couple. If it was, he would be "unavailable" and hand off the applicants to a judge who would perform the ceremony. There is currently no Oregon state law mandating judges to perform same-sex weddings.

The commission charges that "Judge Day is a Christian whose firmly held religious beliefs include defining marriage as only between a man and a woman."

It concludes, "Judge Day shows no outward sign of comprehending the extent or nature of his ethical violations. … His misconduct is of such a nature as to impugn his honesty and integrity."

The commission, however, alleges Day acted improperly, if not criminally, in the other situations — especially when he hung up a picture of Adolph Hitler in a "Hall of Heroes" display at the courthouse. He eventually took it down but was reimbursed twice for the $879 cost of having the image professionally framed.

Day has explained that the image was a piece of World War II memorabilia donated by a local resident, whose father had taken the picture from its frame when he found it in Germany. Day used it as the backdrop for a collage of various photos and awards.

"Young men defeated a fascist empire," Day said, "and if we don't remember what they did, then we're doomed to not recognize the face of evil again. I wanted the face of evil in that collage."

Day's lawyer maintains his behavior has been "sensationalized and misconstrued" and is being made a "guinea pig" for refusing to do same-sex weddings.

The commission counters they are more concerned about Day's behavior with veterans.

If the commission finds Day is in violation, it would go to the Oregon Supreme Court where the judge could be censured, suspended or removed. The commission's investigation is expected to continue next week.

 

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