On January 6, 2016 — about six months after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized marriage equality nationwide and the day before same-sex marriages were set to start in Alabama — the state’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore issued an administrative order to his state’s probate judges telling them to refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses. His order said, “the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect” (i.e. if you issue a same-sex marriage license, you’re breaking state law and can be prosecuted).
Nice try, but it didn’t work; not completely anyway. Of Alabama’s 67 counties, only 13 refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses — these days, somewhere between 11 to 15 counties still refuse to issue ANY marriage licenses whatsoever, whether same-sex or not.
Anyway, Moore has been thoroughly spanked and deservingly so. In May, his order got him suspended pending a trial over charges of six ethical violations including disregarding a federal injunction, unwillingness to follow clear law, abuse of administrative authority, and substituting his judgement for the judgement of the entire Alabama Supreme Court. He appealed the suspension and a federal appeals court was all, “Haha, no,” and denied his appeal.
In September, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary found him guilty on all six counts and suspended Moore for the remainder of his term without pay. Because Alabama has a law forbidding judges over the age of 70 from running for re-election, this was basically the same as firing him. Yesterday, the court told Moore to remove all his crap from the office and turn in his keys; today, some conservative news sites are saying the court just fired his entire staff. Too bad, so sad!
Moore is still appealing his suspension, but a lesson to take from all this (apart from DON’T FUCK WITH THE GAY MAFIA) is that elected judges like Roy Moore are actually a lot more likely to be anti-LGBTQ, that’s because they feel a need to pander to the groups that elected them. In Moore’s case, that meant pleasing conservative voters rather than giving justice to same-sex couples who wanted their relationships legally recognized by their home state.