A national LGBTQ organization is advertising its fight to oust Chief Justice Roy Moore on a billboard in the state capital.
The Human Rights Campaign, a group that advocates for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, put the sign up in downtown Montgomery just days before Moore’s hearing on judicial ethics charges.
Moore was suspended from the bench following a January order to probate judges in which he said that the state’s gay marriage ban was still intact even after a U.S. Supreme Court decision legalized same-sex marriage.
“It’s a way of saying hey, you took a vow to uphold the laws of the United States and of Alabama, and yet you have consistently defied federal rulings on marriage equality statutes and in so done great harm to the LGBT community,” says Eva Walton Kendrick with the Alabama chapter of the HRC.
The group takes issue with Moore’s staunch opposition to gay rights, from which he cites his religious beliefs as a factor.
“Justice Moore was not elected to be a pastor,” Kendrick adds. “And time and time again he’s allowed his personal beliefs to cloud his ethical and legal judgment.”
Moore was removed from the Chief Justice position in 2003 for ignoring a federal court order asking him to remove a large Ten Commandments monument at the Alabama Supreme Court.
Mat Staver is founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, the group representing Moore. He says Moore’s suspension is politically motivated and that the order has been misconstrued.
“The Chief Justice was not allowing state law to trump federal law,” he says. “I mean read the silly order. You can’t come away with the opinion that he was advocating that the probate judges disobey a U.S. Supreme Court order. In fact, it specifically said he did not take any position on what the probate judges should do.”
Staver says Alabama’s automatic removal law creates an atmosphere of guilty until proven innocent and that Moore is being treated like a criminal. He adds that the order was nothing more than a status update from Moore to state probate judges who, he says, had questions regarding Alabama’s gay marriage law.
The Alabama Court of the Judiciary will hear arguments in the case on Monday.
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