January 16, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Possible Senate seat for Roy Moore, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice who defied the US on sex-marriage

BY TROY MASTERS  |  Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, seeking to replace United States Senator Jeff Sessions (who has been selected to become Donald Trump’s Attorney General),  has confirmed his office interviewed former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore for the job.

Moore was suspended after he engaged in a lengthy defiance of a United States Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriages a constitutional right and law of all 50 states.  He ordered marriage license bureaus in Alabama to ignore the Supreme Court.

Kayla Moore, the chief justice’s wife, confirmed the interview in an email to the Montgomery Advertiser, saying it took place Tuesday.

“He would consider it an honor if appointed to the office of U. S. Senate,” she wrote.

If selected he could serve out the remainder of Sessions’ term, which runs through 2020.

“Alabama deserves better than the discriminatory, hateful agendas of politicians like Jeff Sessions and Roy Moore.” Jay Brown, HRC Communications Director told The Pride Los Angeles.

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary twice removed Moore from the bench after confrontations with the federal judiciary. He appealed his most recent suspension, arguing his orders to refuse the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples was intended as a request for guidance but was later stripped of his Justiceship.

When then Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore ordered the state’s probate judges to cease issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, it was a late-game but defiant move against a Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling that legalized same-sex unions and enshrined it as a constitutional right.

Mobile County at the time immediately stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether, a move clearly animated by antigay animus and which became common practice in several Southeastern U.S. counties. Notices posted in Mobile said that the county was “not issuing marriage licenses to any applicants until further notice.”

Moore, a devoutly religious Christian conservative Republican,  has been relentless in his attempts to prevent same-sex marriages in Alabama and has several times issued similar orders.  Prior to the June 2015 SCOTUS ruling a U.S. District Court had found the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court had declined state requests for a stay and ordered Alabama to issue licenses to same-sex couples.  Some probate courts began issuance but Moore ordered them to stop, maintaining his authority trumped federal court orders.

Moore argued, in part, that probate judges should not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples until a case that is before his court on the matter has been resolved. He said this has prompted “confusion and uncertainty” among Alabama probate judges about how to apply the SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriages.

He described Alabama as a state struggling with how to interpret the law: “Many probate judges are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in accordance with Obergefell; others are issuing marriage licenses only to couples of the opposite gender or have ceased issuing all marriage licenses. This disparity affects the administration of justice in this state.”

Albert Holloway Ingram and Keith.
Albert Holloway Ingram and Keith.

His order provoked a range of reaction.

Some called for Judge Moore’s retirement while many just rolled their eyes.

“Moore is violating his oath to respect and comply with the law. This is Judicial Activism at it’s worst,” said Keith Ingram, Community Organizer for Equality Wiregrass, an LGBT advocacy group in Southeastern Alabama.  Equality Wiregrass and other organizations throughout the state called for action.

Alabama’s Attorney General, Luther Strange, who also opposed same-sex marriage, acknowledged that without a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages the ruling by the United States Supreme Court’s decision stands.

Moore was later deemed to have violated judicial ethics by ordering the state’s judges not to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling, says Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary.

Moore was suspended without pay for the rest of his elected term in office and required to pay the cost of the proceedings against him.

The nine-member court made a point of saying their decision is a rebuke of Moore’s behavior and not of his views on same-sex couples.

Moore adamantly believes SCOTS  decision was an over-reach of authority and that Alabama’s “one-man to one-woman” constitutional definition of marriage remains law in the state.

‘If we sit back and let the federal courts intrude their powers into state sovereignty, then we’re neglecting everything about which the Constitution stands,’ Moore said in an interview with National Public Radio conducted at the height of his misbehavior.

His judicial activism threw the state’s courts into chaos.

Bentley’s consideration of Moore (there are 3 other candidates so far) is thought to be perfunctory, given Bentley’s push to ensure compliance with the SCOTUS ruling.

 

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