A Pinedale magistrate who said she would not perform same-sex marriages is fighting a state judicial ethics commission’s recommendation to remove her from office.
The Wyoming Supreme Court will decide if Pinedale municipal judge and circuit court magistrate Ruth Neely should be removed from her position.
The Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics began investigating Neely in January 2015. The investigation was prompted by statements made by Neely to a Pinedale Roundup reporter, which were published in a newspaper article. After a federal judge in Casper struck down Wyoming’s gay marriage ban, Neely told the reporter that she would not be able to perform same-sex marriages.
“When law and religion conflict, choices have to be made,” she was quoted as saying.
On March 4, 2015, the Commission served Neely with a notice of commencement of formal proceedings, which is a disciplinary proceeding. The notice alleged she violated six separate canons, or rules of judicial conduct. The Commission alleges Neely acted with prejudice based on sexual orientation, refused to uphold the law and acted improperly.
During the proceedings, the Commission told Neely it wouldn’t prosecute if she would agree to resign both of her positions and never again seek judicial office in Wyoming, as well as admit wrongdoing, according to a brief by Neely’s attorneys filed with the Supreme Court. Neely declined to do so.
This February, the Commission asked Neely if she would publicly apologize and agree to perform same-sex marriages. Neely responded by saying that she could not perform such marriages because doing so would violate her religious convictions.
Soon thereafter, the Commission filed a recommendation with the Wyoming Supreme Court asking the court to remove Neely from her positions as municipal court judge and circuit court magistrate.
Last week, Neely’s attorneys asked the Supreme Court to reject the Commission’s recommendation. Nweely is being represented by several attorneys from the Alliance Defending Freedom...
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