Last Saturday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organisation, hailed the Judicial Inquiry Commission of Alabama’s suspension of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, for his consistent defiance of pro-marriage equality federal rulings in the state.
“Roy Moore is an embarrassment to the state of Alabama,” said HRC Alabama State Manager Eva Walton Kendrick. “He has repeatedly used his authority to discriminate against LGBT people and their families, and to defy federal marriage equality rulings. Moore’s suspension is welcome news, and we expect the Ethics Commission will permanently throw him out of office after reviewing his pattern of intentionally flouting the laws he vowed to uphold.”
Since January 2015, when Alabama’s marriage ban was first struck down, Chief Justice Moore has used his position on the state Supreme Court to block marriage equality in Alabama at every juncture. Following the first ruling that found Alabama’s marriage equality ban unlawful, Moore wrote a letter to Governor Robert Bentley requesting that the ruling be ignored as non-binding “judicial tyranny,” and informing the state’s probate judges that they could ignore the ruling.
Last year, HRC and other civil rights organizations joined the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) ethics complaint with the Judicial Inquiry Commission of Alabama, seeking Moore’s removal for violating the obligations of his office. The complaint details Moore’s blatant disregard for the law, including communications with the Governor and members of the state’s probate judges association. HRC also collected and delivered to the Judicial Inquiry Committee petitions signed by 28,000 people demanding Moore’s removal.
Chief Justice Moore caused havoc again in January when he issued another shameful order claiming that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges does not specifically address Alabama’s marriage equality ban. Moore justified his unconscionable position by asserting that state law allows him to “take affirmative and appropriate action to correct or alleviate any condition or situation adversely affecting the administration of justice within the state.” Despite his opposition to marriage equality, earlier this year Moore was forced to dismiss a final challenge to the state’s marriage ban that was brought by local anti-LGBT groups.
Moore is no stranger to this variety of ethics complaint. He was previously removed by the state’s Supreme Court in 2003 for ignoring a federal court’s order to remove a Ten Commandments monument in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building. Chief Justice Moore is being represented by Mat Staver, of the Liberty Counsel — an organisation that has been designated an anti-LGBT hate group by the SPLC.