A judge from the US State of Wyoming could be removed from the bench after she refused to marry same-sex couples.
Ruth Neely was placed under investigation by the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics after she told reporters that she wouldn’t perform same-sex marriages.
The commission has recommended that she be stripped of her roles as a municipal judge and circuit court magistrate, something she now plans to challenge in the state’s Supreme Court.
She has claimed that no same-sex couples have ever asked her to marry them and that she has a constitutional right to voice her concerns.
In the legal petition, her lawyers stated: “In a chilling forecast, the Commission leaves no doubt that if it has its way, no judge who holds Judge Neely’s religious beliefs about marriage can remain on the bench once the public learns of those beliefs.”
Counsel for the Commission stated that this was about enforcing the Code of Judicial Conduct and not about interfering with the judge’s right to practice her religion or have free speech.
“What Judge Neely did and said is a violation of that Code,” they said. “Given her unwillingness to even acknowledge the ethical implications, she cannot remain in office.”
The Wyoming Supreme Court has denied a number of religious groups, as well as state lawmakers, from filing briefs in support of the judge’s position.
Some have argued that the case is similar to legal action taken against Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Having been jailed for contempt of court, the born again Christian eventually back down and agreed to issue licenses as long as her name was removed.