Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore on Friday was suspended for the rest of his term for urging an unconstitutional halt on same-sex marriage licenses.
"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 protect," said Eva Kendrick, state manager for the Alabama chapter of LGBTQ group Human Rights Campaign.
"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," Kendrick said.
Moore in January called on probate judges in the state to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses despite the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage throughout the country. He was initially suspended in May pending the court's decision.
Thursday's ruling effectively removes Moore from office permanently. His term was slated to end in 2019, at which point he will be beyond the 70-year-old age limit for judges, unless voters approve raising it in November.
Richard Cohen, president of the anti-discrimination group Southern Poverty Law Center, said, "The Court of the Judiciary has done the citizens of Alabama a great service by suspending Roy Moore from the bench. He disgraced his office and undermined the integrity of the judiciary by putting his personal religious beliefs above his sworn duty to uphold the U.S. Constitution."
"Moore was elected to be a judge, not a preacher. It's something that he never seemed to understand," Cohen said. "The people of Alabama who cherish the rule of law are not going to miss the Ayatollah of Alabama."