Oregon Judge May Lose Job For Refusing To Perform Same-Sex Marriages

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Casey Harper Contributor
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A spokesman for the Oregon judge refusing to marry same-sex couples told The Daily Caller News Foundation the judge may lose his job, though he thinks that is unlikely.

“It could range all the way from dismissal of the complaint up to removal and anything in between,” Oregon judge Vance Day’s spokesman Patrick Korten told TheDCNF. “You could call [removal from office] the nuclear option, highly doubtful.”

Day stopped performing marriages in March and asked his staff to kindly refer couples to other judges. Now he’s under investigation by the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness And Disability over whether he is still fit to be a judge. A complaint was filed in June.

Korten said the commission’s conclusions will then go to the court system, and that the commission does not have the final authority to remove Day, if it were to come to that.

Day, former chairman of the Oregon Republican party, received permission from the Oregon Government Ethics Commission Thursday to set up a legal defense fund to pay his legal expenses for the response to the complaint.

Korten pointed out that judges in Oregon are not required to perform marriages and that there are plenty of other judges who could do it instead. A wide range of officials, including state judges, federal judges and county clerks can perform them.

“This is the start of what we’re going to be wrestling with for the next several years,” Korten told TheDCNF. “How are we to resolve the conflict between where same-sex marriage now stands thanks to the Supreme Court and people who have deep and profound objections to it. Where does the line get drawn? Does conscience and religious belief have any value?”

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