MONTGOMERY, Ala. (ChurchMilitant.com) - An Alabama court will decide in September if a pro-marriage judge will be removed.
A pre-trial hearing was held Monday where a panel of judges denied former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's motion to throw out a complaint against him. The Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) is charging Moore of ethics violations, claiming he ordered state probate judges to refuse to sign same-sex marriage licenses, in violation of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last year legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
The order issued in January by Moore directed judges to follow state law, which prohibits same-sex marriage.
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.
Moore argues he was attempting to clear up confusion regarding the effect of the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and states' sovereign rights. He contends the High Court ruling only applies to the states of Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, the petitioners directly involved in Obergefell v. Hodges — not all the states, as is commonly understood. He noted, "A judgment only binds the parties to the case before the court."
The state of Alabama has passed two marriage laws: the 1998 Alabama Marriage Protection Act, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, while in 2006 the state constitution was amended to include the language: "Marriage is inherently a unique relationship between a man and a woman." It further states that "marriage contracted between individuals of the same sex is invalid in this state. ... No marriage license shall be issued in the State of Alabama to parties of the same sex."
Moore claims the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center is behind the complaint against him. "They're the ones who hired the prosecutor, they're the ones that brought the case for the second time, they don't want anybody opposing the agenda of the homosexual movement," he said. "That's what they don't want."
After the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling Moore commented, "Just who do they think they are when one person can reverse 200-and-something years of precedent in our country and thousands of years of precedent in Western civilization?"
As a result of Moore's defiance of the Supreme Court ruling, he was removed as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. A trial on September 28, 2016 will determine if Moore will be reinstated in his judicial role.