Thursday, September 10, 2015

Oregon Judge Faces Ethics Charges Over Refusing Same-Sex Weddings and Other Matters

The Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability announced in a press release issued Tuesday that a hearing is scheduled next month on ethics charges filed against Marion County Judge Vance Day.  (See prior related posting.) Day has religious objections to same-sex marriage, and one of the charges against him is that before he decided to discontinue entirely performing wedding ceremonies, he had his staff screen wedding applicants to assure that he was not presiding over a same-sex marriage.  However Day, who is head of the Veterans Treatment Court, also faces five other unrelated charges including false statements, improperly allowing a veteran with a prior felony conviction to handle firearms and posting a picture of Adolph Hitler in the county courthouse.  According to CBS News, the Hitler portrait was part of a collage included in memorabilia of a local doctor who had served in World War II. The portrait was surrounded and partially obscured by pages from the doctor's diary, medals and photos.

Meanwhile, The Oregonian reported yesterday that another Oregon state trial court judge, Washington County Judge Thomas Kohl, has also stopped performing weddings now that same-sex marriages are legal.  Kohl has written and speaks widely in churches and prisons about the transformative power of faith.