Judge Who Refused to Marry Same-Sex Couples Gets Years-Long Suspension – His List of Offenses Is Astonishing
Judge Vance Day, who refused to marry same-sex couples, has been suspended by the Oregon State Supreme Court. His refusal to marry the couples is just one small part of a list of charges against the state court judge.
In 2016 a state judicial fitness panel found Judge Day "unfit," ruling that not only had he refused to marry the couples, he told his staff to lie about why he wouldn't. Day had cited his religious beliefs as his reason, and said in 2016 "there are plenty of judges" available to do his job.
The State Supreme Court ruling issued Thursday finds Day committed "willful misconduct," and made "willful misstatements" to investigators to cover up his refusal to perform marriages, The Oregonian reports.
The Court also found Day was guilty of "exceptionally serious misconduct" for falsely claiming he was unaware that a man he supervised was a felon. Day on two occasions allowed the man to handle a gun, which he had been barred from doing.
"We conclude that a lengthy suspension is required, to preserve public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary," the court ruled, adding that the has a pattern of making "false statements" and therefore "is not trustworthy."
In early 2016 the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability recommended Day be removed from the bench, citing a lengthy list of charges.
"Day refused to marry same-sex couples," The Oregonian reports the commission found. He "included a portrait of Adolf Hitler as part of a 'Hall of Heroes' artwork display he erected in the Marion County Courthouse; Day shoved his judicial business card at his son’s soccer referee in an attempt to intimidate the referee into backing off; and Day wrongfully allowed a felon to handle a firearm."
The State Supreme Court has suspended Day for three years without pay. It reportedly is the longest suspension of a sitting judge in the state's history. Day made $124,468 per year.