[Ed. – A FINE – for something that hasn’t even happened. No one has asked the judge to perform a same-sex wedding. Not only does she have every right under the rules governing her public duties to decline to perform such a wedding — no one has yet asked her to. She is being abused outside of any LAWFUL process.]
Her cell phone rang while Judge Ruth Neely was hanging Christmas lights outside her home in Pinedale, Wyo. She didn’t notice that she had missed a call until she went inside to untangle a string of lights.
When Neely called back, the young man who answered identified himself as a reporter from the local newspaper. He told Neely he was doing a story on the administrative challenges of the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in Wyoming.
The two spoke for more than 20 minutes, reporter Ned Donovan told The Daily Signal, and then he asked the town judge whether she was “excited” about the prospect of solemnizing same-sex marriages.
“I will not able to do them,” Neely replied, according to the story Donovan later wrote. “We have at least one magistrate who will do same-sex marriages, but I will not be able to.” …
The result of the interview Dec. 5, 2014, was a relatively short newspaper story, but it sparked an investigation of Neely’s fitness for office. A year and a half later, she is asking the Wyoming Supreme Court not to remove her from two separate judgeships—nor to enforce a fine of up to $40,000. …
The potential removal of Neely from both jobs was set in motion by three key players: Donovan, who later would call for the judge’s removal; Ana Cuprill, Wyoming’s top Democratic official, who emailed the reporter’s story to the state Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics; and Wendy Soto, executive director of that state agency and a former board member of Wyoming Equality, a statewide LGBT rights group.