Gay Marriage

Alabama's Chief Justice Faces Possible Ejection over Gay Marriage Resistance

It would be the second time Roy Moore was stripped of his title.


Roy Moore
Bob Daemmrich/Polaris/Newscom

Infamously anti-gay Christian conservative Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is back in the news and may possibly get stripped of his job yet again.

The state has ordered Moore to face trial in September over accusations of ethical violations. In 2015, as federal courts started striking down state-level bans on same-sex marriage recognition, but before the Supreme Court ruled, Moore pushed the governor and the state to ignore any federal court rulings that did not comport with Moore's position against same-sex marriage and said he wanted to "stop judicial tyranny and any opinions issued without constitutional authority."

Moore's attitude toward marriage recognition did not change after the Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling obligating all states to treat gay marriages the same way they treat straight marriages. In January this year, months after the ruling, Moore put out an administrative order insisting that a previous order that Alabama probate judges not administer same-sex marriage licenses was still in effect. He concluded:

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.

This is being perceived as open defiance of the Supreme Court ruling and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) brought up the complaint against Moore. Both sides attempted to prevent a trial. Moore wanted the case dismissed, aruging that he was offering "guidance" to confused probate judges, not orders. SPLC wanted Moore simply removed from office. Instead there will be a trial.

Moore has been suspended since May. If he's stripped from office, it won't be the first time. Moore was removed from office in 2003 by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary for refusing to comply with federal orders to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Judicial Building. He subsequently ran for governor and lost, then was voted back into office as the Alabama chief justice in 2012.

Read more about the fight and protests for and against Moore here and the actual order that prompted the attempt to remove him from office here.