Alabama Chief Justice Faces Ethics Charges for Telling Judges Not to Follow Gay Marriage Ruling

Photo via AP, Dicks logo by staff male Bobby Finger
Photo via AP, Dicks logo by staff male Bobby Finger

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is facing an ethics hearing Monday after instructing the state’s judges last fall not to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Moore issued those directions more than six months after the Supreme Court struck down bans on same-sex marriage, but says he wasn’t trying to tell anybody to disregard federal law. He’s also bitterly feuding with a drag queen, one of several people to file an ethics complaint against him. She’s winning.


Moore issued his instructions in February 2015, but insisted he wasn’t doing it for any anti-gay reasons, because he actually had numerous gay friends or whatever. He maintains that he was merely telling the state judiciary to wait until the Alabama Supreme Court issued its own ruling.

But his critics, including beloved longtime Dothan drag queen Ambrosia Starling, call bullshit, filing ethics complaints against him with the Judicial Inquiry Commission and saying his evident anti-gay bias made him unfit to perform his job. (It’s actually the second time Moore has faced ethics charges: he was removed from the high court in 2003 after refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument he’d secretly installed in the courthouse rotunda in the middle of the night.)

Moore responded to Starling by saying she’s mentally unstable and unfit to criticize him due to her drag queenery: “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,” he said last month.

Starling responded by reading an open letter to Moore at a rally, politely telling him to fuck off:

“The Judicial Inquiry Commission for the State of Alabama seems to think I am quite mentally stable, as are more than 50 fellow citizens who have filed such complaints,” Starling said. “You have made much of my actions and those over 120 United States citizens residing in Alabama, while trying to escape the blame for your own actions.”

“Your attempt to manipulate laws and due process of law against any citizen are a disgrace to your elected office.”

She added that her “political agenda” was pretty simple: “Have good manners.”

Moore is not exactly doing a great job defending himself against charges of homophobia, in that he keeps saying anti-gay things to journalists who call him about this whole deal.


“The Judicial Inquiry Commission has chosen to listen to people like Ambrosia Starling,” Moore told “A professed transvestite and other gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals, as well as organizations that support their agenda.”

As Moore faces his ethics hearing, Starling is pondering a run for Governor, under the platform, “A queen you can trust.”

Anna Merlan was a Senior Reporter at G/O Media until September 2019. She's the author of Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power.



I feel like Moore is prominent enough that maybe he’s a big time big-time dick. He’s screwing over an entire state (23rd most populous). The shit he pulls is so egregious it seems like it ought to be happening on a small stage, but somehow he’s managing to inflict it on a whole lot of people.