A state judicial fitness panel says when a same-sex couple asked Day to perform their marriage, he told his staff to lie about his availability and direct them to another judge.
A judicial oversight panel investigating complaints against Marion County, Oregon, Judge Vance Day, has recommended that the State Supreme Court remove Judge Day from the bench. Judge Day came to the panel's attention in May of 2014 when he refused to officiate at the weddings of same-sex couples after Oregon legalized marriage equality. The judge maintains it is against his Christian beliefs to participate in a same-sex couple's wedding.
The Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability sent its formal recommendation to the Oregon Supreme Court this week, accusing Judge Day of discrimination based on sexual orientation, among other serious charges.
"His misconduct is not isolated. It is frequent and extensive,” the commission found.
The commission charges Judge Day “willfully” violated ten different rules of the Code of Judicial Conduct, including his refusal to officiate at the marriages of same-sex couples. The commission said whenever a same-sex couple asked Judge Day to officiate, he told his staff to lie about his availability and direct them to another judge. Judge Day did not dispute that practice, but argued same-sex couples were not denied their rights because another judge was always found to marry them.
“Day asserts that this system of discrimination ‘accommodated’ same sex couples," the commission wrote, saying "the idea that a discriminatory practice is a positive ‘accommodation’ to those being discriminated against shows a deplorable lack of understanding of the most basic concepts of impartiality."
Day is only the sixth judge in the state since 2007 to have been referred for sanctions to the Supreme Court.
Here's KOIN's news report of the commission findings and Judge Day's response.
Photo is a screenshot from the KOIN YouTube video