Judge Neely asks U.S. Supreme Court to reverse Wyoming court censure

Judge Ruth Neely — under fire since 2014 for expressing her faith-based beliefs on marriage — has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Wyoming Supreme Court’s censure earlier this year, which has driven her from a magistrate judge position but allows her to remain a municipal judge. (flySnow/Thinkstock)

By Roger Drinnon (roger.drinnon@lcms.org)

Neely

Judge Ruth Neely — under fire since 2014 for expressing her faith-based beliefs on marriage — has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Wyoming Supreme Court’s censure earlier this year, which has driven her from a magistrate judge position albeit allowing her to remain a municipal judge.

Neely is a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church, a Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod congregation in Pinedale, Wyo. She is represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a nonprofit legal organization that advocates for the rights of people to live freely according to their faith.

“This case presents an important free-exercise question,” states the petition ADF attorneys filed with the high court Aug. 4 in Neely v. Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics. “Although the state has a system of individualized exemptions that permits magistrates to decline marriages for nearly any secular reason, the Wyoming Supreme Court held that Judge Neely could not refer same-sex-marriage requests (if she ever received any) to other magistrates for the religious reason she expressed.”

The petition adds that Neely’s case “also raises a significant free-speech issue. Judges who have authority to solemnize marriages should not be punished simply for expressing a religious conflict with officiating same-sex weddings … Punishing people of faith for merely expressing those beliefs conflicts with our nation’s constitutional commitment to free speech.”

Last year, the Synod joined an amicus brief in defense of Neely.

Posted August 8, 2017

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One Response to Judge Neely asks U.S. Supreme Court to reverse Wyoming court censure

  1. Tina August 9, 2017 at 8:58 pm #

    Thank God for guiding the Founders and Framers of our country’s documents to affirm that the freedom to speak and live our faith is given to us by Him. I am thankful for the godly, excellent defenders at ADF when this freedom is being attacked. I support them with my prayers and treasures and ask my brothers & sisters in Christ to do likewise. Judge Neely living her faith is an encouragement to us all to be light in this corrupt, dark world. God’s blessings to her!

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