Municipal judge Ruth Neely has never been asked to perform a gay wedding and has never refused to do one. But when a reporter interviewed Neely in 2014 and asked her, hypothetically, what she would do if she were asked, the jurist said she would simply give the couple the name and phone number of another judge. That’s when the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics accused her of violating the code of conduct and recommended she be removed from the position in which she has served for more than 20 years.
The state Supreme Court agreed that she violated the code of conduct but did not remove her from the bench. The court did, however, publicly censure her and rule that she must perform wedding ceremonies for everyone regardless of their sexual orientation — or not perform any at all.
Several commentators likened Neely's case to that of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who was briefly jailed in 2015 after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Davis later agreed to issue the licenses if they were altered to remove her name and title.
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