Wyoming Supreme Court Hears Case of Judge Facing Removal for Telling Media She Couldn’t Do ‘Gay Weddings’

Neely-compressedCHEYENNE, Wy. — The Wyoming Supreme Court heard oral argument on Wednesday surrounding a local judge who is under fire for making comment to the media two years ago that, as a Christian, she couldn’t officiate same-sex unions.

As previously reported, Ruth Neely told a reporter for the Sublette Examiner in 2014 after a federal judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex “marriage” that she personally could not take part in the officiation.

“I will not able to do them,” Neely stated. “We have at least one magistrate who will do same-sex marriages, but I will not be able to. … When law and religion conflict, choices have to be made.”

She made clear that her personal inability would not stop homosexuals from finding a local judge to officiate.

In January of last year, following a complaint from Democratic Party Chairwoman Ana Cuprill, the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics launched an investigation into Neely’s remarks.

It soon issued her a notice of that disciplinary proceedings would commence. Neely was accused of violating six rules of judicial conduct, including that she “manifested a bias” by her statement and therefore possessed prejudice in regard to so-called sexual orientation.

Neely, who has served as judge for over 20 years, has never been asked to officiate a same-sex ceremony.

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The Commission advised Neely during the disciplinary proceedings that if she admitted wrongdoing and resigned her position, and agreed to never again run for judicial office, it would drop the matter. She declined.

The Commission then asked Neely in February if she would issue a public apology for her statement and agree to officiate same-sex ceremonies. She replied that she could not because of her religious convictions.

Neely also wrote in a letter to the state’s judicial ethics advisory committee, “Homosexuality is a named sin in the Bible, as are drunkenness, thievery, lying, and the like. I can no more officiate at a same-sex wedding than I can buy beer for the alcoholic.”

Therefore, the Commission recommended to the Wyoming Supreme Court that Neely be removed from office.

On Wednesday, the court heard argument over the matter, as Neely’s attorney asserted that the state “has adopted an extreme position.”

“It claims that because Judge Neely’s religious beliefs prevent her from solemnizing same-sex marriage, she cannot be a judge in Wyoming, even in a position that does not have authority to perform marriages,” James Campbell with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) told the panel.

According to the Associated Press, Patrick Dixon, an attorney for the Commission, said that while Neely has a right to her private beliefs, her statements violate the judicial code of conduct because they demonstrate a bias against homosexuals.

Dixon stated that Neely’s case marks a “a low point and a black mark in the history of the judiciary in Wyoming.”

The court is expected to issue a written decision in the coming weeks. Neely is still serving as Pinedale town judge, but has been suspended from her position as magistrate.

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  • https://disqus.com/home/channel/escapefromegypt/ EscapetheDarkness

    This whole situation is ridiculous. In general, as long as the Judge in question provides alternative accommodations, there is no reason why a Judge should not be able to personally decline doing a homosexual wedding, due to personal, religious convictions. To assert otherwise is to push a moot point, for questionable reasons.

    • uninvitedguest

      as an elected official, she doesnt have the right to discriminate like this. do ypur job or quit and find another way to support yourself and discriminate at the same time

      • https://disqus.com/home/channel/escapefromegypt/ EscapetheDarkness

        @ uninvitedguest

        uninvitedguest said: “as an elected official, she doesnt have the right to discriminate like this. do ypur job or quit and find another way to support yourself and discriminate at the same time”

        Absolute nonsense, which is based on a moot point. As long as Judges like her provide alternative accommodations for homosexuals who want to get married, in a timely manner, then no homosexual’s marriage is being impeded and, thus, no homosexual is being discriminated against, in this matter.

        • uninvitedguest

          nobody is asking them to participate in anything. they are, however, being asked to do their jobs as elected officials.

          • https://disqus.com/home/channel/escapefromegypt/ EscapetheDarkness

            @ uninvitedguest

            uninvitedguest said: “they are, however, being asked to do their jobs as elected officials.”

            You’re still desperately, passionately trying to argue a moot point.

            Come back when you have an actual point to make here.

            Good day.

          • uninvitedguest

            same to you

    • Jalapeno

      Typically we DO have higher standards for actual government employees, as they represent the stance of the government itself.

      It’s not only about making sure people can get married.

      • Ken Faivor

        There can be no higher standard to a Christian, than to be a Christian. We cannot deny the Lord.

        • Jalapeno

          We do not expect government employees to be Christians…that would be highly unconstitutional.

          • http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/fisherhl Mr. Avatar

            Maybe you need to go back in history and find out the principles of the men who founded this country.

          • Jalapeno

            Yeah, they weren’t all Christian.

            Are you honestly under the impression that we expect our government employees to hold a certain religion? Have you even heard of the First Amendment?

          • Liberal Elitist

            And according to Bryan Fischer of American “Family” Association, the Constitution applies only to Christians.

        • Ambulance Chaser

          Then you should have no problem sacrificing your earthly privileges for it.

          • Ken Faivor

            We do and will. She would have given up her job so as not to go against the highest law which is of God. In the days ahead Christian will give up their very life for the same.

  • Robert

    Watch wyoming flip flop on this the first time they have a supreme court Muslim Judge. That refuses to. Th

  • Amos Moses

    Liberal Activist Explains Notion Of Tolerance To Man She Just Called A ‘Worthless [Expletive]’

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Recognizing their disagreement at a Friday morning protest as an opportunity for a teachable moment, liberal activist Amber Fernandez, 34, screamed a quick explanation of the notion of tolerance to a man she had just called a “Worthless [expletive],” sources on the ground reported.

    “Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and decency, you [expletive] [expletive]!” she yelled, pumping her balled fist in the direction of the man who had taken issue with her cause. “You do not get to judge or shame people because of their beliefs!”

    “Now get the [expletive] out of here, you filthy [expletive] [expletive] [expletive]!”

    “[Expletive] [expletive] [expletive]!” agreed some fellow protesters within earshot of Fernandez.

    “Love wins, [expletive]!” she added, as the man walked away.

    Babylon Bee

    • sangrita

      Your point, please?

    • Ken Faivor

      And the Lord said to this sort “I never knew you”

  • Gena B

    So, in all states there are judges who may be religious and while in office they pass same sex marriage which violates their beliefs. So, in order to abide by the new laws does that mean every single Christian or religious person would be required to step down if it violates their religious beliefs? Imagine the ramifications to the justice system.

    • Jalapeno

      The ramifications of expecting people to place their job as a government official over their own feelings?

      It’s been like this for a long time…

  • Michael C

    Neely has clearly stated that her personal beliefs about gay people outweigh her oath and obligation to the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the great state of Wyoming.

    Neely places her personal feeling above the laws that she has promised to uphold.

    This should be a concern to everyone. Her ability to serve the people of Wyoming is absolutely in question.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Being able to treat homosexuality and transgenderism as a sin is the last stronghold of freedom in today’s Western nations. Such freedom must not be taken away from anyone. The Westerners are being confused because they applied racial equality upon sexual immorality. The West must go back to the Holy Bible in order to obtain freedom again.

  • Liberal Elitist

    I think religion enthusiasts are trying to redefine “job.”

  • Nedd Kareiva

    The same leftists here demanding Judge Neely show tolerance to homosexuals by marrying them are the ones who won’t show it when they find themselves in the company of those who might offend them. Unless I’m missing something (but I don’t think I am), most Christians working in public service have no issues pertaining to the various aspects of their duties. However, most Christians (if not all) do possess a conscience that innately tells them homosexuality is spiritually taboo (AKA, wrong) and cannot in their good conscience do something that is seen as promoting it. Yet in this one area the intolerant left (e.g. Michael C., Jalapeno, Uninvited Guest) wants to force them to conduct such ceremonies or resign their livelihoods, forget having someone who has no issue doing so perform such (faux) nuptials. It’s past time we who name the name of Jesus as Lord & Savior stand by our long standing convictions (which are also the convictions of some who do not claim to be Christians) and politely but firmly and unapologetically make our stances known.

  • John Lubovinsky

    I can”t beleive we allow same sex marraige in this Great state to begin with . What is this world coming to where people are forced to agree with this behavior or they lose their job .