Alabama chief justice testifies that ethics charges over his gay-marriage advice are 'ridiculous'

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Roy Moore

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore testified on Wednesday that he wasn’t encouraging defiance of a U.S. Supreme Court decision when he advised state probate judges on the status of gay marriage in the state.

At a hearing before Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary, Moore maintained he was merely giving a status update when he told the judges that an Alabama Supreme Court order banning issuance of the licenses remained in effect, report the Associated Press, AL.com and the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

The ethics charges against him are “ridiculous,” Moore said, and he doesn’t “encourage anyone to defy a federal court or state court order.”

Moore told the probate judges in January that they had a duty to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even though the U.S. Supreme Court had found a constitutional right to gay marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges in June 2015.

It’s the second time Moore has faced ethics charges while chief justice of the state supreme court. He was removed from the same position in 2003 for refusing to obey a federal judge’s order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the judicial building which houses the state supreme court.

Attorney John Carroll represented Alabama’s Judicial Ethics Commission, which is seeking Moore’s removal from office. “The chief justice learned nothing from that first removal,” he argued during the hearing on Wednesday. “He continues to defy law.”

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