Post submitted by HRC Alabama State Manager Eva Kendrick
We elected Roy Moore to be a Supreme Court justice, not a pastor. Yet, since 2001, when he was first elected to the Alabama Supreme Court bench, Moore has aggressively and consistently used his position of power to push his own personal religious beliefs. Now, after his year-plus, unethical crusade against the LGBTQ community, it is time for him to be removed from office.
Moore’s ethical troubles began more than a decade ago, when he secretively erected a monument of the Ten Commandments in the Alabama Supreme Court in 2003, leading to subsequent ethics charges and his removal from the bench – not to mention national, negative media attention for our state. Now, after being re-elected to serve on the Supreme Court, he has found himself in another ethical firestorm in which he put his own politics above the law.
Since January 2015 when Judge Callie Granade struck down Alabama’s marriage ban, Chief Justice Moore has used his position on the state Supreme Court to block marriage equality in Alabama at every possible juncture. Following the ruling that found Alabama’s marriage ban unlawful, Moore wrote a letter to Governor Bentley requesting that the ruling be ignored as non-binding “judicial tyranny,” and informing the state’s probate judges that they could ignore the ruling. Since then, Moore has faced ethics charges for his behavior, all stemming from his actions taken against marriage equality for more than a year.
Moore was suspended from the Supreme Court in May 2016 when the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) leveled judicial ethics charges against him. Now, the Court of the Judiciary (COJ) have the final say on whether to make his suspension permanent. He had a hearing on Aug. 8, and another is scheduled for late September to decide Moore’s fate.
Chief Justice Moore is being represented by Mat Staver, of the Liberty Counsel - an organization that has been designated an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Most recently, the Liberty Counsel represented Kim Davis, the infamous Kentucky County Clerk who flouted the law by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The group also supports anti-LGBTQ efforts around the country.
Moore has been blatantly anti-LGBTQ at every turn of this ordeal: from his flagrant obstruction of marriage equality in Alabama to the counsel he sought out to appeal the charges leveled against him. And, again, he turned the glare of the national spotlight on our state.
For these reasons, the Human Rights Campaign purchased a billboard in Montgomery to call for the removal of Moore from office. We hope it serves as a reminder for Alabamians in Montgomery that Moore is unfit for office, and that his hateful rhetoric and dangerous behavior has no place in a court of law. Moore’s negative rhetoric only serves to empower those who wish harm upon the LGBTQ community, and he should not be allowed that platform.
It’s important to note that Moore’s actions don’t just go against the law; they go against a foundational principle of America. A key function of the judiciary is protecting the rights of the minority. When our founders envisioned an independent third branch of the government that would serve as a check on the power of a voting majority, they imagined judges who would serve as a check on political actions that would infringe upon the rights of citizens. Moore, as the highest judicial authority in Alabama, should take his role seriously as a protector of the rights of all – including LGBTQ Alabamians.
Moore was elected to enforce the law and protect the rights of all Alabamians; he swore to follow the laws and constitutions of Alabama and the United States – the latter of which expressly prevents state recognition of religion. Instead, he has chosen to use obstructionist legal tactics and discriminate against LGBTQ people from his position of power. Moore’s behavior goes directly against the ethical and legal requirements of his position, and it is time, once and for all, for him to be removed from our state’s high court.