An Oregon judicial commission kicked off a two-week hearing Monday. The panel is considering the fate of a judge who's accused of screening out same-sex couples for marriage ceremonies.
Judge Vance Day said his deep religious beliefs prevent him from marrying same-sex couples. He said he asked his staff to direct those couples to other judges.
Day's attorney, Ralph Spooner, says the Salem judge has been made a guinea pig to see whether other judges who share Day's convictions can be punished.
"He's the vehicle by which this issue is being litigated in Oregon,” Spooner said. “He's the one they picked on. He's got the target on his back."
Oregon judges aren't required to perform weddings. But Victoria Blachly, the attorney presenting the Judicial Commission's side, said Day erred when he chose only to marry some couples.
"When a Judge in Oregon takes an oath, they must uphold the law, even when it's a challenge to the judge,” Blachly said.
The Commission will consider this and a dozen other charges against Judge Day before it makes a recommendation to the Oregon Supreme Court.