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Court upholds suspension of judge who abused his power to block gay weddings

Alabama’s disgraced Chief Justice has lost his appeal against his suspension, after abusing his powers in an anti-gay crusade.

After the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of equal marriage last summer, Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore tried to actively disregard the rulings – issuing a number of spurious judicial orders to officials in a brazen attempt to re-ban gay weddings.

He declared the Supreme Court rulings “doesn’t apply” in Alabama due to state anti-gay laws, and ordered probate judges to enforce a gay marriage ban – but soon learned the hard way you can’t just ignore the highest court in America.

The Judicial Inquiry Commission launched action against him for his string of illegal orders, alleging that he “flagrantly disregarding and abusing his authority” in his illegal crusade against gay weddings.

Moore was suspended by the Court of the Judiciary until the end of his term, and today lost his Alabama Supreme Court appeal against the decision.

He was represented in his appeal by the same extreme anti-LGBT law firm that represented homophobic Kentucky clerk Kim Davis – the Liberty Counsel.

Anti-LGBT chief Mat Staver attacked the ruling, saying:  “This opinion and the entire case against Chief Justice Moore is a tragedy. For the first time in the history of Alabama, a justice has been disciplined for issuing an Administrative Order.

“Under this system, no judge is safe to issue orders or render dissents. The system has to change, and politics should be removed from judicial decision making and disciplinary actions.”

The suggestion that “politics should be removed from judicial decision making” is surprising, given that Moore was elected to his position. Moore, a Republican activist, is also rumoured to be preparing a bid for the state’s Governorship.

Fighting his suspension, Moore’s lawyers had incredibly tried to claim that he did not act to try and halt gay weddings, despite extensive public records and court documents on the matter.

In a publicly-available order following the SCOTUS ruling, Moore explicitly claimed: “IT IS ORDERED AND DIRECTED THAT: Until further decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court that Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect.”

Eva Kendrick, state manager for the Human Rights Campaign, Alabama, said: “Roy Moore has flagrantly and willfully attempted to block marriage equality at every turn in Alabama, using his position of power to push a personal, radically anti-LGBTQ agenda.

“We are thrilled that justice has been done today and he will no longer be able to use the bench to discriminate against people he had taken an oath to to protect.

“Roy Moore’s bigoted rhetoric and unethical actions harmed LGBTQ Alabamians and emboldened those who would seek to hurt us further.

“We hope this is a turning point for our state. We must focus on electing politicians and judges who will move us forward, not backward.”

The Liberty Counsel rose to national prominence after providing free legal representation to embattled Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, when she refused to carry out her duties because of same-sex marriage.

The group has more recently been secretly helping Republican lawmakers draft anti-LGBT legislation in a number of states, leading to a wave of anti-LGBT ‘conscience’ bills and ‘bathroom laws’ that exploit transgender issues as an excuse to strip back anti-discrimination protections.

The group has shockingly anti-LGBT views despite its GOP ties. Its head Mat Staver recently falsely claimed that first responders at last year’s Pulse nightclub shooting had to “get tested for AIDS-related conditions” because of the blood of gay victims – while LC President Anita Staver claims she takes a gun to the toilet in case there are any transgender women in there.

They have also claimed the United States might be destroyed unless you give them money.

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