Alabama Chief Justice's Ouster Over Gay Marriage Weighed

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A hearing on judicial misconduct charges against Alabama's suspended chief justice began before a packed house Monday after Roy Moore entered to the applause of supporters in the courtroom where usually presides over state Supreme Court hearings.

Moore's attorney Mat Staver said there's no need for a trial, since no material facts are in dispute. He said their written arguments are enough to show why the Alabama Court of the Judiciary should dismiss the charges.

Staver said Moore never told anyone to disobey the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, and did nothing to warrant a misconduct conviction.

Former federal magistrate John Carroll says this defense "defies common sense."

Carroll is representing the state Judicial Inquiry Commission, whose investigators recommended Moore's removal. They accuse him of violating judicial ethics by urging probate judges in a January order to defy the federal courts after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gays and lesbians have a fundamental right to marry.

Carroll reminded the state panel that Moore was removed from office in 2003 for defying a federal court order on the Ten Commandments, and said he is again defying federal courts with his opposition to gay weddings.

Moore has said he was simply trying to clarify that a previous state ban on issuing marriage licenses to gay couples remained in effect because his fellow justices had not moved to rescind it.

The hearing began after dueling rallies outside, featuring pro-Moore activists decrying homosexuality and a smaller group accusing Moore of refusing to stop imposing his personal views on Alabamans.


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