Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has been suspended for defying the US Supreme Court's 2015 finding that gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry.

The nine-member Alabama Court of the Judiciary unanimously agreed to suspend Moore for the remainder of his term.

“For these violations, Chief Justice Moore is hereby suspended from office without pay for the remainder of his term. This suspension is effective immediately,” the court said in its order issued Friday.

Moore denied the charges at this 4-hour trial on Wednesday in Montgomery, saying that he did not order probate judges to defy the Supreme Court's order in Obergefell, which struck down laws that excluded gay couples from marriage.

Moore issued an administrative order to the state's 68 probate judges months after the high court's ruling in which he said that Alabama's marriage ban was still in effect because it had been upheld by an Alabama Supreme Court ruling issued four months before the Supreme Court's decision.

“In that administrative order, I wasn't telling them to do anything,” said Moore, the only person to testify at Wednesday's trial. “I would not defy any federal court order.”

The January 6 order was meant to provide a “status” report for judges, Moore argued.

Some counties, including Mobile County, among the busiest in the state, temporarily stopped issuing marriage licenses to all couples in response to Moore's order.

Mat Staver of the Christian conservative law group Liberty Counsel is representing Moore. Staver also represented Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis in her legal fight to keep her office from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Staver said that an appeal was likely.

Because of his age, 69, Moore will not qualify to run for office when his term ends in 2019.

Moore was ousted from the bench by the same court in 2003 for refusing to remove from public property a monument of the Ten Commandments which he had commissioned. Voters returned him to the bench a decade later.

Moore lashed out in a statement, saying that his effective ouster was a “politically motivated effort by radical homosexual and transgender groups to remove me as chief justice of the Supreme Court because of [my] outspoken opposition to their immoral agenda.”

“This opinion violates not only the legal standards of evidence but also the rule of law which states that no judge can be removed from office except by unanimous vote,” he added.

Staver also criticized the decision: “To suspend Chief Justice Moore for the rest of his term is the same as removal. The COJ lacked the unanimous votes to remove the Chief, so the majority instead chose to ignore the law and the rules.”