Todd Starnes / Mar. 8, 2017

Small-Town Judge Punished Because of Her Religious Beliefs

LGBT activists demand complete allegiance and devotion.

The Wyoming Supreme Court publicly censured a small-town judge who said her Christian beliefs would prevent her from presiding over same-sex marriages. Judge Ruth Neely has been a municipal judge in Pinedale for more than two decades. She also works part-time as a circuit court magistrate in Sublette County. Her views on marriage became public in 2014 after a local newspaper reporter interviewed her for a story regarding gay marriage. She reiterated her position on same-sex marriage 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.”

It seemed like a reasonable compromise, but there is no compromise when it comes to the LGBT agenda. Activists demand complete allegiance and devotion. Hell hath no fury, as the saying goes. The Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics accused Judge Neely of violating the state code of judicial conduct. It had recommended Judge Neely be removed from both of her positions. For the record, Judge Neely had never been asked to perform a same-sex marriage. In other words, this faithful member of the Lutheran church was bullied for expressing her belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. The Supreme Court agreed that she had violated the judicial conduct code, but decided not to remove her from the bench, arguing it would “unnecessarily circumscribe protected expression.”

“Judge Neely shall either perform no marriage ceremonies or she shall perform marriage ceremonies regardless of the couple’s sexual orientation,” Justice Kate Fox wrote in the court’s decision. Alliance Defending Freedom, the law firm that represented Judge Neely, claimed victory in the case. “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,” attorney Jim Campbell said.

In her decades on the bench, the judge has never been accused of wrongdoing or had a complaint brought against her, court documents state. The Wyoming Supreme Court made clear the case against Judge Neely was not about same-sex marriage or “imposing a religious test on judges.” But that’s exactly what the case is about. Either pledge your allegiance to militant activists or pay the price. I call on the Supreme Court to censure the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics for conducting an anti-Christian witch hunt and trying tarnish the reputation of a good judge.

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