Wyoming High Court Hears Gay Marriage Statement Arguments
The Wyoming Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments on whether a Pinedale magistrate's statements that she would not issue a marriage license for a same-sex couple if she was ever asked to do so is grounds for her removal from office.
Ruth Neely told a reporter in 2014 that she would not perform same-sex marriages because of her religious beliefs. The state's Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics is recommending that she be removed from her position both as a magistrate and municipal court judge because her statements are discriminatory and violate the code of judicial conduct.
But Neely's attorney says her statements are her free speech right under the first amendment to the constitution and points out Neely has never actually refused to perform a same sex marriage because she has never been asked to do so.
But the attorney for the commission told the high court that a judge's first amendment rights are much more restricted than those of other citizens in the interest of judicial fairness.
The court has taken the case under advisement. It's not known when the court may issue a ruling in the case.