SALEM, Ore. — A county judge in Oregon who refuses to officiate same-sex “weddings” because of his religious identity—and who has now discontinued officiating nuptials of any kind—is under investigation by the State Ethics Board.
Marion County Judge Vance Day is being investigated by the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness to determine whether or not he violated the state Code of Judicial Conduct by declining to perform the ceremony for homosexuals instead of violating his religion.
In Oregon, judges aren’t required to officiate marriage ceremonies at all, and last fall, Day stopped doing so altogether.
Day had only performed marriage ceremonies between a man and a woman since being appointed to the bench in 2011, but when a federal court struck down the state’s ban on homosexual nuptials last July, he soon decided to pull out of the marriage business. He asked his clerks to provide referrals to other judges as he could not participate because of his faith.
“He made a decision nearly a year ago to stop doing weddings altogether, and the principal factor that he weighed was the pressure that one would face to perform a same-sex wedding, which he had a conflict with his religious beliefs,” spokesman Patrick Korten told The Guardian.
“It’s an exercise of his religious freedom rights under the First Amendment,” he added to KGW-TV.
It is not clear as to whether a complaint was lodged with the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness, or how the investigation was initiated.
Day is now prepared for a legal fight if necessary and is refusing to violate his faith.