SALEM, Ore. — An Oregon judge known for refusing to marry same-sex couples is continuing his battle to stay on the bench.
Marion County Judge Vance Day has been accused of allowing a convicted felon to possess and control a gun on two occasions, using his office for personal gain, asking his staff to discriminate against same-sex couples and lying to a state commission.
The Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability recommended removing Day in 2015.
The Oregon Supreme Court heard the case Wednesday, the Statesman Journal reported (http://stjr.nl/2sf0oyd).
The judge understood his past conduct was inappropriate and has since changed, Day’s lawyer Janet Schroer said during the hearing.
She also took used the hearing to poke holes in the commission’s argument. Schroer argued that the commission’s report was “very selective” and relied on testimony from sources she said are unreliable.
Day has publicly said that he is Christian. Because Oregon does not require judge to perform same-sex marriages, Schroer said it was Day’s First Amendment right to choose to skip gay weddings.
“He is a man of character and integrity,” Schroer said.
A censure would be a more appropriate judicial disciplinary action, she said.
The commission’s lawyer, Timothy Volpert, disagreed and said the firearm and lying allegations are serious enough to remove Day from the bench.
“The lies that were told over the course of this proceeding were systematic, were fundamental, they proceeded over several occasions,” he said. “There were lies made in testimony.”
Day has been handling special assignments from Presiding Marion County Circuit Court Judge Dale Penn from home since criminal charges were filed against him for two felony gun violations and two counts of first-degree official misconduct, according the report.
He did not make any statements during the hearing.
Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com