Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, famous for his embrace of religion in the courtroom, says he’s under attack, again.
Moore this week accused the civil rights organization the Southern Poverty Law Center and “atheists, homosexuals and transgender individuals,” of filing politically motivated charges that he violated judicial ethics, AL.com reports.
“For months, I’ve sat back while complaint after complaint has been filed by persons and individuals and organizations which have mischaracterized and misstated my position,” Moore said at a Wednesday news conference recorded and uploaded by AL.com.
The SPLC, accused by some social conservatives of casting too wide a net in its fight against hate, filed a complaint against Moore with the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission. In it, the group called for him to be penalized for encouraging judges to follow Alabama law and deny marriage rights to same-sex couples despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that such laws violate the federal constitution.
In particular, the SPLC cited a letter Moore wrote to Gov. Robert Bentley (R) late last January in which he asked the governor to remain steadfast in his opposition to same-sex marriage.
“I ask you to continue to uphold and support the Alabama Constitution with respect to marriage, both for the welfare of this state and for our posterity,” Moore wrote. “Be advised that I stand with you to stop judicial tyranny and any unlawful opinions issued without constitutional authority.”
That letter and Moore’s other actions constitute proof that he has failed to faithfully uphold the law and should face charges before the commission, the SPLC said.
On Wednesday, Moore pushed back.
“This is not about any wrongdoing I’ve done, this is not about ethics. This is about marriage,” he said, adding that the question at the heart of the matter is one of “what the law is.”
“We’re in a serious time in our country,” Moore said.
Moore is an outspoken proponent of the idea that same-sex marriage is morally depraved.
“I think it is going to destroy the nation,” he said in an interview last July with pro-life activist Randall Terry and recorded by Right Wing Watch, an organization that tracks conservative commentators.
Last June, Moore described the Supreme Court’s ruling granting marriage rights to same-sex couples as “even worse” than the court’s 19th century ruling upholding segregation.
“I believe it’s worse because it affects our entire system of morality and family values,” Moore told CNN at the time.
This is far from Moore’s first brush with controversy. He was ejected from the Alabama Supreme Court in 2003 over his refusal to follow another court’s order that he remove a monument to the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery.