Judge Vance Day is under investigation partly because he will not conduct marriages for same-sex couples. A Marion County judge, Vance says that his refusal to perform gay marriage ceremonies is based on religion, reported CBS News.
Day’s spokesperson revealed that a judicial fitness commission is conducting the investigation. The judge’s refusal to wed same-sex couples followed the May 2014 federal court ruling that legalized gay marriages in Oregon. At that time, Vance told his employees that they should give couples of the same sex who wanted to wed referrals to judges other than Day, according to spokesperson Patrick Korten.
However, the judge went one step further last autumn by opting out of conducting any weddings, with the exception of a previously scheduled March ceremony, added Korten.
No Weddings Conducted By Judge Day In Future?
“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.”
Day responded to comments by asking that questions be sent to Korten, who said that out of all the allegations against the judge, the question of weddings for same-sex couples is the heaviest that the Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability is looking into.
However, listing the specifics of those allegations are not permitted per the commission until the Vance Day investigation has been completed.
Compared To Kim Davis
The judge’s refusal is being compared to the case of Kim Davis. She is a Kentucky county clerk who was jailed when she would not give same-sex couples marriage licenses. And neither she nor Day is alone in being a public official who is against marrying gay and lesbian couples.
But Jeana Frazzini, co-director of Basic Rights Oregon, expressed concern about what Judge Vance’s stance implies. Frazzini opined that Day’s views mean more than getting married.
“Taking that kind of a step really calls into question how an LGBTQ person could expect to be treated in a court of law. It goes beyond marriage and gets to serious questions about judicial integrity.”
In addition to Day and Davis, other public officials have declined to follow the state and/or local rulings on same-sex marriage. But with the exception of Davis, none of those government officials were sent to jail, reported the Daily Signal.
Similar Cases – With a Difference
And some cases are noticeably different. When he was mayor of San Francisco in 2004, Gavin Newsom (now California Lieutenant Gov. Newsom) went against the state’s gay marriage prohibitions, He instructed city clerks to go ahead and give same-sex couples their marriage licenses.
“He issued licenses challenging existing state law. It wasn’t to challenge a court order, and certainly not a Supreme Court order,” clarified Newsom’s spokesperson Rhys Williams.
Williams added that to compare today’s case that are defying a Supreme Court order with Newsom’s act isn’t valid.
“What’s happening is not a challenge of the law. It’s a Supreme Court order. It’s different.”
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]