Send a Message to Our Courts.
Protection for Religious Liberty and Free Speech for All!
In our work together as advocates for Life, Marriage and Religious Freedom we are continually encountering a growing intolerance from elitists even for our right to speak. As Judge William Rehnquist recently put it, we now live in a society “that bristles at all things religious.” While these challenges to the first amendment typically come in the context of the same-sex marriage debates, they have far reaching implications for the church’s entire ability to speak and act in the public square. To put it simply, if we lose our right to free speech, we will lose our ability to advocate for marriage, life and family and ultimately for the gospel itself.
We are reminded of something that Ryan Anderson said at our last convention:
“It is not the words of enemies that we remember but the silence of our friends.”
For this reason, it is with deep urgency that we draw your attention to the matter of Ruth Neely.
I Stand With Judge NeelyRead the petition
Judge Ruth Neely is a faithful and active member of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Pinedale, Wyoming. She has served as the municipal judge there for more than 21 years. In that position, she hears all cases arising under the ordinances of Pinedale, which generally involve traffic and parking violations, animal control, public intoxication, underage drinking, shoplifting, breach of the peace, and similar matters. Judge Neely has also served as a part-time circuit court magistrate for approximately 14 years. In that capacity, she has the authority to, among other things, administer oaths, issue subpoenas, issue search and arrest warrants, conduct bond hearings, and solemnize marriages.
In late 2014, Judge Neely was contacted by a reporter from the Sublette Examiner. The reporter asked Judge Neely whether she was “excited” to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies now that they had become legal. Judge Neely replied that because of her religious beliefs, she would “not be able to do” same-sex marriages and that she had not “been asked to perform” one. In December 2014, an article appeared in the Sublette Examiner quoting these statements by Judge Neely.
In March 2015, the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics filed a complaint against her, alleging judicial misconduct under the Wyoming Code of Judicial Conduct and seeking her removal from both judicial positions (even though she is not permitted to perform marriages in her position as a municipal judge). More specifically, the commission alleged that by merely communicating her religious beliefs about marriage and her inability to solemnize same-sex marriages, Judge Neely failed to follow the law and manifested bias or prejudice based on sexual orientation.
On December 31, 2015, the commission issued a recommendation to the Wyoming Supreme Court seeking Judge Neely’s removal from her positions as municipal judge and part-time circuit court magistrate.