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Judge Faces Removal after Refusing to Officiate Same-Sex Marriage

Judge Faces Removal after Refusing to Officiate Same-Sex Marriage

A municipal judge in Wyoming may be in danger of losing her job because her religious beliefs prevent her from officiating a same-sex marriage.

The Daily Signal reports on the controversy that has come about after reporter Ned Donovan called judge Ruth Neely and asked for her comments, saying he was doing a story on the challenges of implementing the legalization of same-sex marriage. He then asked Neely if she was "excited" about the prospect of officiatng at a same-sex marriage.

In that phone interview, Neely allegedly responded that she herself would not officiate at a same-sex marriage, but there were other officials in the country who would do so.

“I will not able to do them,” Neely replied, according to the story Donovan later wrote. “We have at least one magistrate who will do same-sex marriages, but I will not be able to.”

Neely, who is active in her Lutheran church, went on to state her traditional views on marriage.

Because of that conversation, Judge Neely now faces possible removal from her position, as well as a $40,000 fine.

Donovan, along with Ana Cuprill, a Democratic Sen. from Wyoming, and Wendy Soto, executive director of the state Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics, who also used to be a board member of Wyoming Equality, an LGBT group, have joined together to question Neely's ability to carry out her job.

Neely is embroiled in this controversy without actually refusing to officiate at a same-sex marriage ceremony, since she had never actually been asked to, and Donovan’s questions were hypothetical.

Donovan has not changed his stance, despite claims that he had engaged in an “agenda-driven” form of journalism. 

Publication date: June 17, 2016