Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended on Friday for defying the legalization of marriage equality, AL.com reported.
Moore was suspended after the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission filed ethics charges against him. Moore will now be tried by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary, and could be removed from the bench if found guilty.
The commission’s move was spurred by complaints by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which released a statement saying Moore had “disgraced” his position.
“He’s such a religious zealot, such an egomaniac that he thinks he doesn’t have to follow federal court rulings he disagrees with,” said the group’s president, Richard Cohen. “For the good of the state, he should be kicked out of office.”
Moore, who stated last year he would “not be bound” by the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriages because they change the “organic law” of God, was dismissive of the accusations against him.
“The Judicial Inquiry Commission has no authority over the administrative orders of the chief justice of Alabama or the legal injunctions of the Alabama Supreme Court prohibiting probate judges from issuing same-sex marriage licenses,” he said. “The Judicial Inquiry Commission has chosen to listen to people like Ambrosia Starling, a professed transvestite and other gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals, as well as organizations that support their agenda.”
The SPLC’s accusations, in part, concerned Moore’s February 2015 order instructing state probate judges not to follow the high court’s decision, as well as what it described as an undermining of public confidence in his office by doing so.
Moore also faced possible removal from his office in 2003, following his move to install a Ten Commandments monument inside the in the state judicial building. He later refused to follow a federal court order to remove it.