The most recent instance of persecution for refusal to participate in the homosexual agenda is so legally dubious, indeed prima facie illegal, that one thinks, "This can't work." But that depends on the Wyoming State Supreme Court.
Ruth Neely was until recently a small-down municipal judge and circuit court magistrate in tiny Pinedale, Wyoming. In 2014 a federal judge imposed homosexual "marriage" on the state of Wynoming. In her role of magistrate Neely is allowed (but according to her lawyers not required) to perform marriages. In her role as judge she does not even have authority to perform marriages but deals with things like traffic tickets.
Neely gave an interview to a newspaper in which she stated that she would not perform homosexual "marriages" due to her sincere religious beliefs about marriage.
This sparked an "ethics" investigation, and the vengeful ethics board demanded that she be removed from office for a variety of "ethics" violations merely for voicing these opinions. These violations include "prejudice based on sexual orientation," "acting improperly," and "refusing to uphold the rule of law."
The ethics board has even recommended that she be fined! The stories in the news all say things like "fines of up to $40,000," and I've been unable to find out exactly what this means. Presumably it means that someone else decides exactly how much to fine her, and the ethics board has set it up so that that person could fine her as much as $40K. It looks like there is no such thing as a jury trial or conviction before she would suffer such fines, though the case can be appealed to the state Supreme Court, which is what is happening right now. She's already been removed from her position both as a magistrate and as a judge, despite the fact that the judge position doesn't even allow her to perform marriages.
Let's get this clear: If Neely's lawyers are right, this persecution does not even have the color of law that Kim Davis's persecution had. No office's functions are being slowed or interrupted by Neely's refusal to conduct homosexual "marriages." In fact, no one has ever even asked her to do so! Conducting marriages for whoever comes through the door is not a part of her duties nor part of her job description. She would have discretion to refuse even a heterosexual couple. According to her lawyers, the law says that a magistrate, like a priest or other clergyman, may perform the ceremony of marriage! Not must. Not is required to. Not usually does. Not usually does as part of normal job duties. May. Here is the relevant statute, and it reads as Neely's lawyers quote it. It is of course possible that there is some other statute somewhere that lays out the duties of a magistrate and requires the magistrate to solemnize marriages, but so far I haven't seen any such quotation. In fact, Neely's lawyers state that the Commission who investigated this admitted that Neely isn't in general required to solemnize marriages! Neely's lawyers also list precedents in which magistrates have used their discretionary powers to refuse to solemnize marriages for various reasons, including "just not feeling like it" and limiting oneself only to performing marriages for friends and family.
This has been interpreted by a local newspaper to mean that "All judges are required to marry those who meet the legal requirements, unless there is a scheduling conflict or other problem. In those cases, prospective couples will be referred to other magistrates." But I have not seen any legal quotation supporting this claim. Indeed, the fact that the newspaper says "judges" and not "magistrates" calls into question the legal knowledge of the reporter!
The incredible legal flimsiness of all of this and the obviously vicious bias of the "ethics" committee has not prevented homosexual activists (and a mind-numbing number of news story readers) from chanting like deranged parrots, "If you aren't willing to do your job, you have to get another job." This was absurd enough in the case of Kim Davis, but in this case the claim that performing homosexual "marriages" is "part of the job" is a blatant falsehood even by the most narrowly positivistic legal standard.
To make matters even clearer, the state constitution of Wyoming has an explicit provision against disqualifying people from public office for religious beliefs--what one might call an anti-Test Act provision. It goes like this: "The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship without discrimination or preference shall be forever guaranteed in this state, and no person shall be rendered incompetent to hold any office of trust or profit, or to serve as a witness or juror because of his opinion on any matter of religious belief whatever,..."
The ethics committee is carrying out a new Test Act by stating that Neely must be removed from office for intending to refuse to exercise her discretionary powers to perform homosexual "marriages." Her intent to refuse was indicated in an interview and based upon her religious opinion. By the "ethics" board's reasoning, anyone who is a judge or magistrate in Wyoming and holds this opinion, and intends merely to refuse to endorse homosexual marriage because of this opinion, is now unfit for that public office. And such a person, having announced his opinion and intent, also deserves to be fined.
Ethics boards operate in a strange legal landscape. That they can exact fines when no jury trial has been held has often struck me as dubiously Constitutional. Doesn't the federal Constitution guarantee a jury trial? In criminal law, this right is extremely broad. In civil law, it is guaranteed when the amount in question is over $20. But apparently ethics boards, by trying matters that are neither civil law nor criminal law, gets around this and can even levy fines. While I acknowledge the need for a mechanism to punish corrupt judges and public officials, I have grave doubts as to whether this is a wise mechanism, as the abuse of this sweeping power in Neely's case illustrates.
At this point we need to recognize that the homosexual lobby is absolutely unconstrained by the rule of law. (Ironic, isn't it, that the claim against Neely is a refusal to acknowledge the rule of law?) Laws will be blatantly twisted and invented, as witness the Obama Administration's bizarre interpretation of such laws as Title IX in its bullying of North Carolina.
Neely had an easy legal out from performing homosexual "marriages." This should not even have been an issue. But the ethics board decided to hound her down anyway.
I get impatient these days with certain rather smug Christians who say that Christians in America have a "persecution complex" and that nobody in America is really suffering persecution. If what has happened to Neely and to the Kleins in Oregon, fined $135,000 over not baking a homosexual wedding cake, isn't persecution, what is it? Does it count as persecution only if it involves torture, throwing to lions, being burned at the stake? What? We are talking here not "just" about direct discrimination, not "just" about being fired from your job, not "just" about being forced to close a business, though all of those would, I believe, constitute forms of persecution. But we're also talking here about the government's fining people for refusing positively to endorse homosexual "marriage." If that isn't government persecution for moral or religious belief, then I simply don't know what is.
Supercilious Christians, stop telling your fellow Christians that there is no persecution in the United States. There is, and you're wrong, and you're smug.
As to what to do about it, contribute to the ADF and such organizations, look around to learn the legal protections in your own line of work, but don't expect them to be respected if the homosexual activists or transgender activists have power and want to roll over them. And pray.