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
The nine-member Alabama Court of the
Judiciary unanimously agreed to suspend Moore for the remainder of
“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
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,”
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