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Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore Suspended for Defying Federal Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore
AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

“Alabama has shown the world it believes in the rule of law,” one local LGBT advocate said. 

Roy Moore has been suspended as chief justice of Alabama after a judiciary court found him guilty of ethics violations for telling probate judges not to officiate same-sex marriages.

According to a ruling by the Court of the Judiciary, Moore violated his duty as the state's chief justice when, after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, he told local judges on Jan. 6 that opposing same-sex marriage was their "ministerial duty."

"The chief justice should not issue an order that if followed would constitute disobedience to a binding federal injunction," according to the ruling.

Alabama LGBT activists, who have been campaigning for Moore's removal for months, cheered the decision.

"Alabama has shown the world that it believes in the rule of law," Paul Hard, a professor at Auburn University in Montgomery, told Out.

Moore was removed from office in 2003 after defying a federal court order to remove a statue of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery.

"This is not just a great day for the LGBT community or for the people of Alabama," Ambrosia Starling, an Alabama entertainer and LGBT activist, said in tears after she learned the news. "This is a great day for everyone who believes in justice."

The unanimous vote, just two days after Moore's hearing, suspends the justice for the remainder of his term--until 2019. Because of his age, Moore is unlikely to run again.

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