Judge Vance Day is declining to conduct wedding ceremonies for LGBT couples. The Marion County, Oregon circuit court judge has been working in the Third Judicial District since 2011. During that time, he has never performed a same-sex marriage, reported MSN.
The judge cites his religion as the reason, and therefore says that performing same-sex marriages would constitute a violation of his rights under the First Amendment. A former chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, Vance Day currently does not conduct any marriage ceremonies. Moreover, his clerks allegedly were told to have couples who are gay be referred to alternative judges.
But the judge’s refusal to perform same-sex marriages isn’t the only issue. Patrick Korten, his spokesperson, revealed that the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability is investigating Day because of a 13-point complaint.
Judge Creates Legal Defense Fund
Vance Day now has decided to get help with the financial aspect with a legal defense fund, reported the Oregon Live.
The judge’s affidavit revealed that the fund is designed to help with the cost involved in the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability’s investigation into claims that Day violated the Oregon Code of Judicial Conduct and the Oregon Constitution.
“These legal expenses arose by virtue of, and were related to, my service as an Oregon Circuit Judge,” noted Day’s affidavit.
With regard to why he was refusing to perform the same-sex marriage ceremonies, his spokesperson explained.
“It’s an exercise of his religious freedom rights under the First Amendment,” said Korten about the situation.
Results Of Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriages
The Supreme Court’s ruling was designed to apply to all states. It took effect at a time when same-sex marriage was not allowed in Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Texas, or Tennessee. However, the Supreme Court ruling specified that even those states that had banned gay marriages now must provide licenses to same-sex couples, reported CNN.
And getting married means more than a piece of paper. It also helps with financial issues that include Social Security benefits, filing income tax, health benefits, and inheritance rights.
For some, the legal right to make medical decisions is one of the most potentially life-changing aspects of the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage.
“There is always the fear of one of us experiencing a serious health issue health and the other not being able to make decisions for the other,” said Ed Williams, who has been with partner Ron Emery for three decades.
Day Faces Investigation
The investigation of Judge Vance Day is an ethics investigation, according to the Statesman Journal.
Day’s spokesperson, Korten, revealed that the judge had already refrained from conducting marriage ceremonies before the U.S. Supreme Court June ruling. Korten also commented that Day had chosen to create the fund for the anticipated legal fees involved to defend himself.
A former public affairs representative for the U.S. Justice Department, Korten said that he recently had been hired by Day to take the role as spokesperson.
Korten emphasized that Day’s decision not to perform marriages for same-sex couples resulted from his strong religious beliefs.
“He has a right to those beliefs under the United States Constitution,” added Korten.
[Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]