The chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy Moore, on Friday was suspended for the remainder of his term for ordering judges not to grant marriage licenses to gay couples, local TV station WBMA reported.
Months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2015 that gay couples must be granted marriage licenses nationwide, Moore ordered that judges in Alabama “have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act” until instructed to do so by the state’s Supreme Court.
Alabama’s Judicial Inquiry Commission found Moore guilty of multiple ethics violations, including for failing to “uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary.” Moore denied doing so.
“It would be against the principals I hold dear to tell somebody to defy a federal court or a state court order,” Moore said, as quoted by WBMA. “That is their decision.”
Judge John Carroll of the Judicial Inquiry Commission said Moore has “fostered in the minds of the public that the rule of the law doesn’t matter, that judges are free to defy the Supreme Court and the orders of the lower federal court if they believe its appropriate,” according to the report.
Moore had also been suspended from the court in 2003 for refusing to remove a statue of the Ten Commandments from the state’s Supreme Court building. He was re-elected to the Alabama Supreme Court in 2012.