October 2016 Church & State - October 2016

Wyo. Judge May Lose Job Over Same-Sex Marriage Refusal

  AU admin

A Wyoming judge who says she won’t perform same-sex marriage ceremonies because of her religious beliefs is on the verge of losing her job after the state’s supreme court recommended she be dismissed. 

The recommendation came after Judge Ruth Neely of Pinedale told the Pinedale Roundup that her religious beliefs could conflict with her job duties. In a letter to the state’s Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, she compared homosexuality to alcoholism.

“I can no more officiate at a same-sex wedding than I can buy beer for the alcoholic,” Neely wrote.

Her lawyer told the court that removing Neely from the bench would violate her First Amendment rights to religious freedom, but the commission maintains that Neely violated ethics rules that require her by law to judge without prejudice and bias.

“Judges do not enjoy the same freedom to proselytize their religious beliefs as ordinary citizens,” the commission said. 

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