Update: The Governor of Alabama stepped down on Monday 10 April, as impeachment hearings were set to begin.
Impeachment hearings began against the disgraced Governor of Alabama on Monday – who claimed that permitting gay people to marry would “undermine” civil society.
But not before the Governor stepped down, despite adamantly stating that he would not do so.
In a statement on Monday, the Governor said: “I have decided it is time for me to step down as Alabama’s governor.”
Last year allegations arose that Republican Governor Robert Bentley, a militant believer in ‘traditional’ marriage, had cheated on his wife of 50 years with chief adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason.
After Bentley flatly denied any such affair, a recording was published in local media in which Governor Bentley appears to be having phone sex.
In the recording, a still-married Governor Bentley talks in an erotic manner about how he wishes to fondle Ms Mason’s breasts, as well as appearing to profess his love for her.
The Governor, whose affair has since been outlined in some detail, was immediately branded a hypocrite given his crusade against same-sex marriage in the state.
Filing a 2014 legal brief seeking to deny gay couples the rights to marry, his attorneys claimed: “To change Alabama’s definition of marriage by judicial fiat would undermine the integrity of the courts and would alter society’s understanding of marital norms and responsibilities, to the detriment of children and civil society.”
The brief added: “Alabama has chosen a traditional, conjugal, opposite-sex definition of marriage, as opposed to a revisionist definition that includes all consent-based emotional relationships.”
Over the weekend, the Alabama Supreme Court gave the green light to impeachment hearings against Governor Bentley on allegations that he abused his position to cover up the affair.
The Alabama Ethics Commission alleges that Bentley misused state personnel and resources as part of his quest to retrieve the tape which eventually leaked.
In a report released on Friday, a special counsel to the Judiciary Committee in the Alabama House of Representatives said the Governor had “encouraged an atmosphere of intimidation”, and demanded state officials help him cover up an “inappropriate relationship.”
He previously said: “I do not plan to resign. I have done nothing illegal. If the people want to know if I misused state resources, the answer is simply no. I have not.”