Wyoming Judge Under Investigation For Stating That She Would Not Marry Same-Sex Couples

Pinedale municipal judge and circuit court magistrate Ruth Neely is under investigation after being quoted in a newspaper story in October 2014 saying that she would not marry same-sex couples. This comment came less than three months after U.S. District Judge Scott W. Skavdahl of Casper struck down the state's ban on marriage for Wyoming LGBT residents.

From the Casper Star-Tribune:

"Neely...told the Sublette Examiner she would not be able to marry gay couples. She said there was at least one other magistrate in the area who could marry gay couples if necessary.

'When law and religion conflict, choices have to be made,' she said in the Dec. 11 story. 'I have not yet been asked to perform a same-sex marriage.'

As a result of the newspaper story, the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics began an investigation, according to a statement from the commission.

On March 4, the commission served Neely with a notice of commencement of formal proceedings, which is a disciplining proceeding, the statement said.

The notice alleged she violated six separate canons, or rules of judicial conduct, the statement said.

'In response, Neely admitted she informed the reporter that solemnizing same-sex marriages would violate her religious beliefs, denied that she had violated the Code of Judicial Condition and raised 13 separate defenses, primarily based on her constitutional rights,' the statement said.

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It's probably not a great idea to tell a journalist that you are going to straight up break the law.