Despite the recent Supreme Court ruling that angered both traditional marriage advocates and supporters of the 10th Amendment, the fallout from the federalization of gay marriage continues to make headlines. As reported by Jonathan Cooper of the Associated Press (AP) via ABC News on Sept. 5, 2015, and also in a collaborative report by ABC’s by Emily Shapiro, Jennifer Metz and Seni Tienabeso on Sept. 4, 2015, the latest shots fired aren’t just in the hollows of Kentucky, but also to the Cascade Range of Oregon.
With a somewhat sensational headline of “Oregon Judge Refuses to Perform Same-Sex Marriages,” the AP’s Cooper does note that Judge Vance Day of Oregon’s Marion County has not only stopped performing weddings for homosexuals, but for everyone. As it turns out, Marion County judges have the option to officiate marriages or not.
Opting not to is exactly what Judge Day elected almost a year ago. According to Marion County spokesman Patrick Korten, with only two exceptions, Judge Day instructed his staff to refer homosexuals seeking secular marriages at the County Courthouse to be placed on the scheduled of other judges.
Yet Korten did divulge that the Judge’s principal factor against having any weddings on his schedule would be the pressure he’d face from officiating “a same-sex wedding, which he had a conflict with his religious beliefs.” For that, Day is being investigated by a State of Oregon’s Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability.
As reported, the investigation of Day is only “in part” regarding his religious beliefs. Without giving further specifics, Korten also revealed “several allegations against Day” but the issue of same-sex nuptials is “the weightiest” of suspected wrong doings.
As it turns out, Judge Day is the former Chairman of the Oregon Republican Party. Yet what ostensibly appears as a display of bi-partisanship, Day was appointed to the bench in 2011 by then-Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat.
In the meantime, ABC News sought insight from Howard Wasserman, law professor at Florida International University College of Law regarding the arrest of Kim Davis, County Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky. When asked why U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis to be jailed, the professor opined the federal judge chose the harsher option due to “the less severe sanction of monetary fines would not have been sufficient to get her to comply. So the judge concluded that this was the only sanction he had left.”
Davis has yet to be found guilty by a jury of her peers, yet languishes in jail. Judge Bunning has made clear that Davis will remain behind bars until she signs off on marriage certificates for gay couples or resigns from office.
Nonetheless, Davis’ attorney Matthew Staver informed the media that his client “has no intention to resign.” Staver also added, “She will never violate her conscience.”
Curiously, Professor Wasserman also stated that Davis being ordered to jail could be an “advantageous thing” for her. “Because she has been a martyr to this cause. She has presidential candidates talking about [her as a] victim in a war against Christianity … and how she’s a victim of being the first person ever put in jail for adhering to their conscience, which is not true.”
More than a few political watchers have been left scratching their collective heads concerning Wasserman’s qualifier of Davis being “the first person ever put in jail for adhering to their conscience.” Neither Davis, her attorney nor any presidential candidate that supports her choices and actions have ever stated such.