Alabama Chief Justice fights back against same-sex marriage complaints

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to address, what he called, ‘marriage complaints’ filed with the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) of Alabama. Moore and his attorneys listed the Southern Poverty Law Center and other organizations, as well as LGBTQ individuals as the ones behind those complaints.

“This is not about ethics,” Moore said.  “This is about marriage, and it’s about my legal judgments which I’ve issued in Administrative Orders, which is in my capacity as Chief Justice.”

In January, Moore said some of the complainants publicly protested those orders by holding a same-sex marriage ceremony on the steps of the Alabama Judicial Building.  He specifically referred to Ambrosia Starling, who Moore said led the group.

“This person, and some of the people around her, would have been said to have a mental disorder-gender identity disorder according to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association,” said Moore.  He went on to say that Starling first violated a court order and is now bringing complaints against him.

Moore and his attorneys are asking the JIC to dismiss the complaints against him. He said the SPLC has an agenda, and that he has “been in this position before.”  Moore also doesn’t believe that the JIC has any jurisdiction in the matter.

“This is a legal debate between the affect of a state order and a federal order, and all of the Alabama Supreme Court have collectively spoken and they have held up those continuing effects of the orders,” said Moore.

The Chief Justice also denies have specifically ordered probate judges to stop issuing same sex marriage licenses in his Administrative Orders.

“Neither of which told anyone to disobey a federal court order,” he said.  “I’ve just seen it so much in the press and media and I’m tired of hearing it from the SPLC and others.  There is nothing written that you will find that I told anybody to disobey federal court orders.  That’s not what I said.  I upheld the state of the Alabama Supreme Court’s injunctions in API.  There’s a big difference.”

Protestors who waited outside of Moore’s press conference disagreed.

“To say that he didn’t because he never told them, verbatim, disobey the law, doesn’t make it any less of a crime,” said Lynn Hopkins, a minister in Montgomery. Protestors sat on the steps of the Judicial Building, holding signs.

The SPLC president, Richard Cohen sent CBS 42 a statement reacting to Moore’s press conference:

“Justice Moore has apparently not read the ethics complaints that we have filed against him.  Those complaints focus not on his judicial opinions, but on his extrajudicial actions and statements urging defiance of the rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court.  But, Justice Moore is right about one thing.  We do have a political agenda.  It is called upholding the rule of law.”

In addition to the SPLC, complaints were also filed by People for American Way, Human Rights Campaign and various gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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