Wyoming Judge Under Fire for Religious Beliefs on Gay Marriage
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Ruth Neely has been a small town judge in Pinedale for more than 20 years.
She has never been asked to perform a same-sex marriage, but was asked the hypothetical question of whether she would perform a same-sex ceremony if asked to do so.
Judge Neely publicly stated that if asked, she would refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies because doing so would violate her religious beliefs.
On Tuesday, the state's Supreme Court censured Neely for making that hypothetical statement, saying she violated the state's code of judicial conduct.
"No judge can turn down a request to perform a marriage for reasons that undermine the integrity of the judiciary by demonstrating a lack of independence and impartiality."
According to Fox News, in 2014, Neely stated her position on same-sex marriage during a interview about gay marriage in the local newspaper.
She restated her position under oath:
"If I ever were to receive a request to perform a same-sex marriage, which has never happened, I would ensure that the couple received the services that they requested by very kindly giving them the names and phone numbers of other magistrates who could perform their wedding."
The court declined to remove Neely from her position because of how long she's been in her role as judge "for which she is widely respected." The court also said her statement was an isolated response "to a quickly changing legal landscape one in which many judges have experienced similar turmoil."
The Alliance Defending Freedom represents Judge Neely. Senior Counsel Jim Campbell released the following statement to CBN News:
"By affirming that Judge Neely may remain in her judicial positions, the Wyoming Supreme Court has recognized that her honorable beliefs about marriage do not disqualify her from serving her community as a judge, which she has done with distinction for more than two decades. The court rejected the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics' recommendation that Judge Neely be removed from office for expressing her belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. The court also stated that removing her would have 'unnecessarily circumscribe protected expression' and thus violated the Constitution. Judge Neely looks forward to serving her community for many years to come."
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