Judge who refused to marry gay couples gets three-year suspension without pay

This Thursday, the Oregon Supreme Court handed down the longest suspension ever given to a judge, sentencing a Circuit Court Judge Vance Day to be suspended without pay for three years in part over his refusal to marry same-sex couples.

Day went to extreme measures to deny same-sex couples their right to marry by instructing his staff to tell couples that he wasn’t available for a ceremony — while at the same immediately giving appointments to straight couples.

Day was also found to have committed other numerous instances of misconduct.

From The Oregonian:

The court singled out as “exceptionally serious misconduct” false claims by Day that he didn’t know a man he supervised on probation was a felon. Day allowed the man to handle a gun twice in his presence even though Day had told him in court that he was forbidden from handling firearms, the court said.

The court also found that Day lied about being assaulted by a referee or sports official at his son’s Chemeketa Community College soccer game.

Vance Day (YouTube)

According to the court’s opinion, Day was suspended “to preserve public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary,” adding that his pattern of making “false statements” suggests that he “is not trustworthy.”

“A judge is a public official, not a priest, and is required to perform the duties of the office without bias or prejudice,” said Ethan Rice, an attorney for New York-based LGBT rights firm.

Although Day was removed from the bench entirely, a suspension is a serious black mark on any legal career. The Oregon state bar can also seek to have Day disbarred as a lawyer.

Featured image via screen grab/YouTube