Alabama Chief Justice ejected after illegally trying to block gay weddings
Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore has been indefinitely suspended over ethics violations over his crusade against gay weddings.
After the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of equal marriage last summer, Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore tried to actively disregard the rulings – issuing a number of judicial orders to officials in a brazen attempt to re-ban gay weddings.
He declared the Supreme Court rulings “doesn’t apply” in Alabama due to state anti-gay laws and ordered probate judges to enforce a gay marriage ban – but soon learned the hard way you can’t just ignore the highest court in America.
The Judicial Inquiry Commission launched action against him for his string of illegal orders, alleging that he “flagrantly disregarding and abusing his authority” in his crusade against gay weddings.
Today the nine-member Court of the Judiciary found Moore unanimously guilty of all six charges brought against him.
As Moore is elected, he cannot be directly sacked, but he has been suspended without pay from his role until the end of his current term in 2018.
In 2018, he will be unable to stand for re-election for the office of Supreme Court justice again in Alabama as he will be past the office’s age restriction.
It is the second time Moore has been removed for ethics violations.
In 2003, Moore was removed from the same job after refusing to take down a Ten Commandments monument in the secular judicial building, despite an order from a federal court and the constitutional separation of church and state.
Moore was later re-elected by voters in 2012.
Eva Kendrick, state manager for the Human Rights Campaign, Alabama, said: “Roy Moore has flagrantly and willfully attempted to block marriage equality at every turn in Alabama, using his position of power to push a personal, radically anti-LGBTQ agenda.
“We are thrilled that justice has been done today and he will no longer be able to use the bench to discriminate against people he had taken an oath to to protect.
“Roy Moore’s bigoted rhetoric and unethical actions harmed LGBTQ Alabamians and emboldened those who would seek to hurt us further.
“We hope this is a turning point for our state. We must focus on electing politicians and judges who will move us forward, not backward.”
The justice claims he is being targeted for his religious views, while opponents say action is being brought because he ignored federal court orders and established law to pursue his own petty agenda, trying to block gay weddings.
Moore is represented by the same law firm as Kentucky clerk Kim Davis.
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His lawyer Mat Staver insisted previously: “The JIC knows that it has no case and refuses to face the reality of the four-page administrative order, which any plain reading reveals did not direct the probate judges to disobey the U.S. Supreme Court. The JIC’s charges are full of colorful adjectives and lacking in substance.”
Despite Staver’s claim that Moore did not try to re-ban gay weddings, it is a matter of objective, indisputable fact and public record that he did.
Following the SCOTUS ruling, Moore wrote in an order: “IT IS ORDERED AND DIRECTED THAT: Until further decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court that Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect.”
Moore has never until now tried to deny the root of his actions.
Last year he said: “They’re toying with something that’s like dynamite, that will destroy our country. I think eventually, over a period of time, it will.”
“It definitely will, because the gender, the homosexual movement, is to force acceptance of this on everybody.”