Inquiry Concerning Honorable Ruth NeelyAnnotate this Case
In 2014, a newspaper reporter asked Judge Ruth Neely, a municipal court judge and part-time circuit court magistrate, if she was “excited” to be able to perform same-sex marriages. Neely answered that she would not perform same-sex marriages in her judicial capacity as a part-time circuit court magistrate due to her religious beliefs. The matter came to the attention of the Wyoming Commission on Judicial conduct and Ethics. After an investigation, the Commission’s Investigatory Panel determined that there was probable cause to find a violation of the Wyoming Code of Judicial Conduct. The Commission’s Adjudicatory Panel granted the Commission’s motion for partial summary judgment. The full Commission adopted the Adjudicatory Panel’s findings and recommendations and recommended that Judge Neely be removed from her positions as municipal court judge and part-time circuit court magistrate. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Judge Neely violated the Wyoming Code of Judicial Conduct by announcing that she would perform marriages only for opposite-sex couples. The Court, however, did not accept the Commission’s recommendation for removal, and, instead, order public censure with specific conditions.