Roy Moore to stand trial for gay marriage order

By David Roach - Posted at Baptist Press:

A yard sign near Prattville, Ala., reflects what an attorney for the
Alabama Citizens Action Program characterized as broad support for
 Chief Justice Roy Moore’s views on same-sex marriage.
Photo by Mary Pope

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (BP) -- With Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore set to stand trial next month on charges he defied federal court rulings on same-sex marriage, a legal adviser to Alabama Baptists' public policy auxiliary has called the allegations against him unmerited.

At issue in Moore's case is a Jan. 6 administrative order in which he stated Alabama's 68 probate judges had "a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage licenses contrary to" the state's ban on same-sex marriage until the Alabama Supreme Court clarified the relationship between state law and the U.S. Supreme Court's decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

The Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) alleges in a 293-page complaint that Moore "failed to respect and comply with the law," citing the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 Obergefell ruling among other cases.

The JIC seeks to have Moore, a Southern Baptist, removed from office.

Yesterday (Aug. 8), the Alabama Court of the Judiciary, a state panel that disciplines judges, denied both a motion from the JIC to remove Moore from office immediately and a motion by Moore to dismiss the complaint. A trial is set for Sept. 28, when a nine-judge panel will decide whether Moore violated judicial ethics and, if so, what penalty to impose.

Eric Johnston, an attorney who advises the Alabama Citizens Action Program, an auxiliary of the Alabama Baptist Convention, told Baptist Press, "By and large, most people in Alabama would agree with Moore on his position. I think it's real clear that the marriage issue and his stand on it is what brought this [complaint] on. It's almost like it's vengeance by those that won the marriage issue in Alabama."

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