Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has been suspended without pay for the rest of his term for telling state judges to violate the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.
The Alabama Court of the Judiciary (COJ) issued the order after a unanimous vote from the nine-member court, reported AL.com.
"For these violations, Chief Justice Moore is hereby suspended from office without pay for the remainder of his term. This suspension is effective immediately," the order said.
Moore, 69, was found guilty of ethics violations for his administrative order to 68 probate judges that told them to disavow the Supreme Court's 2015 landmark ruling that legalized gay marriage across the country. Alabama was one of several states that had a state law condemning the practice.
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"At the outset, this court emphasizes that this case is concerned only with alleged violations of the Canons of Judicial Ethics," the COJ wrote. "This case is not about whether same-sex marriage should be permitted: indeed, we recognize that a majority of voters in Alabama adopted a constitutional amendment in 2006 banning same-sex marriage, as did a majority of states over the last 15 years."
Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which first filed the complaint against Moore said the COJ "has done the citizens of Alabama a great service by suspending Roy Moore from the bench."
"He (Moore) disgraced his office and undermined the integrity of the judiciary by putting his personal religious beliefs above his sworn duty to uphold the U.S. Constitution," Cohen stated, according to AL.com. "Moore was elected to be a judge, not a preacher. It's something that he never seemed to understand. The people of Alabama who cherish the rule of law are not going to miss the Ayatollah of Alabama."
When Moore issued his order in 2015, he said he was doing so to protect states' rights.
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“If we sit back and let the federal courts intrude their powers into state sovereignty, then we're neglecting everything about which the Constitution stands,' Moore said, according to NPR.
Moore's seat won't be up for re-election until 2019.
This marks the second time Moore got into trouble for his controversial stances while sitting on the state's highest court.
In 2003, he was removed from the bench for refusing a federal court's order to remove a 10 Commandment's display from the state judicial building.
But Alabama voters brought Moore back as Chief Justice in 2012.