After a Christian municipal judge and magistrate in Wyoming told a reporter she wouldn’t officiate a homosexual “wedding,” the state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics wants her removed from her positions, although no one filed a complaint against her.
The commission asked Judge Ruth Neely to publicly apologize and agree to do something that would conflict with her faith in return for dropping its proceedings against her. She refused. A judge suspended her in 2015.
The commission also wants Judge Neely to pay a fine that could cost her $40,000. She appealed her case to the state’s highest court. From the Casper Star-Tribune:
The Commission began investigating Neely in January 2015…
“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.
Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal firm that represents Christians defending themselves against government discrimination, also represents Judge Neely. From one of her legal briefs:
“Our society asks a lot of judges, but we do not ask them to abandon their convictions, whether religious or secular. Removing Judge Neely from the bench would send a clear message that anyone who shares her honorable and widely held religious beliefs about marriage is not fit for the judiciary (even for a position without authority to solemnize marriages). Worse yet, it would jeopardize the career of any judge who holds a belief about any potentially divisive issue, because once the Commission learns that a judge holds a view it does not like, it can invoke the machinery of the state to pursue that judge’s demise.”