Report: Oregon Judge Wouldn't Marry Gay Couples, Hung Portrait Of Hitler In Courthouse


The Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability recommended to the Oregon Supreme Court on Jan. 25 that Judge Vance Day be removed from the bench because he allegedly refused to marry same-sex couples and committed other violations.

"Judge Day shows no outward sign of comprehending the extent or nature of his ethical violations," the nine-member commission wrote in its recommendation, notes The Oregonian. "His misconduct is of such a nature as to impugn his honesty and integrity."

The commission is made up of judges, lawyers and members of the public.

In response, a spokesman for Day said in a statement: "A quick review of the decision indicates that the Commission's 'finding of facts' are at odds with evidence presented at the hearing, and some have no evidentiary support at all. The opinion is especially troubling because it disregards Judge Day's First Amendment rights to freedom of religion, speech and association. He will vigorously defend these rights, and his innocence of the remaining charges, before the Oregon Supreme Court."

The commission said in its report that Day, who opposes same-sex marriage based on his Christian beliefs, created a "discriminatory plan" against marrying gay couples that his staff was instructed to follow.

Additionally, Marion County Circuit Judge Cheryl Pellegrini told the commission that Day allegedly told her that he opposed her appointment to the bench because she is a lesbian. Day said his opposition was because Pellegrini had worked as a government lawyer.

The commission also accused Day of misleading the media and public by saying that he was being targeted by the commission because of his religious beliefs.

The commission said that Day included artwork of Adolf Hitler in a "Hall of Heroes" inside the Marion County Courthouse. When Day was told to take it down by Presiding Judge Jamese Rhoades, he allegedly told her, "You don't want to go there because some very influential people in this town want it up."

Day eventually took down the Hitler artwork, but the commission wrote that he was paid back twice for the $879 matting cost.

The commission also accused Day of hiring people on probation to do work at his home, and "relentlessly" contacting a Navy Seal, who was on probation, to introduce (Day) to his Navy Seal friends.

Day allegedly pushed "his judicial business card at a soccer referee" during his son's soccer game at a college in an effort to intimidate the referee, the commission stated.

According to the Statesman Journal, it is now up to the state supreme court to decide if Day is removed from the bench, which seems likely as the high court usually follows the recommendations of the commission.

Sources: The Oregonian, Statesman Journal / Photo Credit: Elvert Barnes/Flickr

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