An Oregon judge is facing an ethics investigation after refusing to marry same-sex couples based on his religious convictions.
Judge Vance Day, the former chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, instructed his staff to tell same-sex couples he does not perform gay weddings and to refer them to judges who would, his spokesman Patrick Korten told KGW.
Of course that would seem like a reasonable solution to anyone who is, well, reasonable. But in 2015 the state can and will come after you with guns blazing to force you to violate your religious beliefs and then, apparently, charge you with an ethics violation.
“It’s an exercise of his religious freedom rights under the First Amendment,” Korten told KGW.
Day hasn’t performed same-sex marriages since he became a judge in 2001 and stopped doing any marriages at all this past spring.
According to Korten, that decision has brought about an ethics investigation by the Oregon Judicial Department even though Marion County judges are not required to perform marriages.
Korten said they could not discuss the specifics of the case until the investigation is made public, which the department doesn’t have to do until it schedules a public hearing.
The investigation was learned about on Thursday when Day was given permission by the Oregon Government Ethics Commission to create a legal defense fund.
The Oregon Judicial Department has not yet responded to KGW’s request for comment.
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