This is a case much more serious than the case of Kim Davis, the county clerk from Kentucky who refused to issue any marriage licenses because she didn’t want her name or title associated with same-sex marriages. Her job was to issue licenses. With Judges performing weddings is an extra.
Judge Vance Day readily admits that he has told his staff not to schedule him to officiate any same-sex marriages. Not out of any hatred toward gays, but because of his faith. Judge Day’s preference not to perform same-sex marriages didn’t stop any gay couples from getting married, but it didn’t matter because someone complained and now the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability has brought him up on a list of charges, not all connected to his refusal to perform same sex-marriages, but all brought up because of his refusal. This is a clear violation of the First Amendment freedom of religion.
Below is a recent TV interview the Judge did on about his charges, and below that my good friend Tami Jackson picks up the story with a post she wrote for Barbwire.
By Tami Jackson
As reported on September 10, 2015, at OregonLive.com:
Last week, word filtered out that Marion County Circuit Judge Vance Day was under investigation by the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability. The primary reason given at the time, according to Day’s spokesman, was his refusal to perform marriages out of concern that he would be asked to officiate over same-sex unions. That would conflict with Day’s deeply-held religious beliefs, according to Patrick Korten, Day’s spokesman.
It’s more than that, as we now know. Day, who will face a commission hearing in November, is accused of several code of conduct violations including that he had his court staff screen out same-sex couples who wanted him to officiate their wedding ceremonies, made untruthful statements to the presiding judge, allowed a convicted felon whose case he oversaw to handle guns, accepted donations from lawyers appearing before him to “sponsor” artwork he hung at the Marion County courthouse and displayed a collage of war memorabilia that prominently featured a World War II era painting of Adolf Hitler.
Day, for his part, concedes portions of some allegations, including the fact that he directed his court staff not to schedule him for same-sex weddings due to his religious opposition, telling them to send gay couples to other judges instead. He admitted collecting money from attorneys, which, he said, was on behalf of a registered nonprofit and was to pay for matting and framing the artwork in the hallway outside the courtroom where he presides over the county’s “Veterans Treatment Court.” He also acknowledges hanging the collage showing the Hitler painting, which had belonged to a World War II veteran from Oregon. Day, Korten told The Oregonian/OregonLive editorial board, wanted to celebrate veterans’ contributions by reminding them of past accomplishments and the debt the country owes to veterans.
Then this morning I received this email from a good friend that had originated with Judge Day’s wife, Mattie
FROM THE DESK OF MATTIE DAY
You care – or you wouldn’t be receiving this message.
You know my husband, Vance. He has been a Circuit Court Judge here in Oregon for 4 years. In that short time, he has specially trained to identify and deal with domestic violence. He was asked to join national faculty to train other judges in this prevalent issue. He started the second and largest Veterans Treatment Court in Oregon. He has been asked to mentor the judiciary in other counties for establishing vets courts. He established the “Hall of Heroes” gallery at the Courthouse commemorating our local veterans in leadership positions to inspire his treatment court participants and bring awareness to vets issues.
To read the rest of Mattie’s letter and all of Tami’s great post Please click here