The Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday
suspended a judge who refused to marry gay and lesbian couples.
The suspension of Marion County Circuit
Court Judge Vance Day is the longest the state's highest court has
handed down in its history. An ethics commission in 2016 recommended
that Day be removed from office, the AP reported.
After a federal judge in 2014 struck
down Oregon's marriage ban, Day, a Republican, referred gay couples
looking to marry to other judges. He later stopped marrying couples
“He made a decision nearly a year ago
to stop doing weddings altogether, and the principal factor that he
weighed was the pressure that one would face to perform a same-sex
wedding, which he had a conflict with his religious beliefs,”
Patrick Korten, a spokesman for Day, told the AP in 2015.
Other ethics charges included
allegations that Day had broken gun laws when he twice gave a gun to
a felon and lied to investigators.
In its unanimously-endorsed opinion,
the court said that Day's misconduct “suggested a character that
reflected poorly on his fitness to serve as a judge.”
Day also faces criminal charges
stemming from the gun handling allegations.