A judge in Oregon is refusing to perform same-sex marriages because of "deeply held religious beliefs," reports KGW. Judge Vance Day—former chairman of the state's Republican Party—created a legal defense fund yesterday, apparently to pay for expenses he expects to incur fighting allegations he's violating the state's Code of Judicial Conduct as well as its constitution, reports Oregon Live. “It’s an exercise of his religious freedom rights under the First Amendment,” his spokesperson tells KGW.
The station reports Day hasn't performed any same-sex marriages since becoming a judge in 2011—telling his clerks to send gay couples elsewhere—and stopped performing marriages entirely in the spring. Oregon law does not require judges to perform marriages, and there are apparently six other judges in Day's county available to perform them. Day's spokesperson says the judge is facing an ethics investigation, though details on what exactly is being investigated haven't been released. In Oregon, public officials are allowed to set up trusts to pay for legal defenses against government investigations, Oregon Live reports. (Read more gay marriage stories.)