MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A male entertainer who presents himself as a woman is cited as being among those pushing for the removal of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, also known as the Ten Commandments judge.
As previously reported, Moore was suspended from the bench last week and now faces possible removal after the homosexual advocacy groups Southern Poverty Law Center, People for the American Way, the Human Rights Campaign, and a drag queen who goes by the name Ambrosia Starling, pressed the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) to take action against Moore for his defense of marriage in the state.
“The JIC has chosen to listen to people like Ambrosia Starling, a professed transvestite, and other gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals, as well as organizations which support their agenda,” Moore said in a statement on Friday. “We intend to fight this agenda vigorously and expect to prevail.”
According to reports, Starling has participated in and hosted a number of public protests against Moore, including those calling for his removal. He told reporters this past week that he views his drag attire as “armor” to “do battle” for the community.
“As an entertainer, I look at my drag as the armor that I put on to go out and do battle for my community,” Starling said. “I feel like it’s time to put on a public face for my community and get everyone’s attention to what’s important, not only to me but to the community. This is how I do it.”
Moore had mentioned Starling last month in remarking about the complaints that had been lodged to the JIC by homosexual activist groups.
“This person (Starling) 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.
Starling characterized Moore as a “bully” on Saturday in speaking with AL.com, which asked him about Moore citing Starling as being among the activists seeking to have him removed.
“Every bully cries hardest when he’s been punched in the nose,” he said.
HISTORY OF THE CASE
As previously reported, in 2013, two lesbians in the state sued Gov. Robert Bentley, Attorney General Luther Strange and Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis—among others—in an attempt to overturn Alabama’s marriage amendment after one of the women was denied from adopting the other woman’s child.
In January 2015, U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade ruled in favor of the women, prompting Moore to send a memo to probate judges throughout the state, advising that they are not required to issue “marriage” licenses to same-sex couples as he believed that Grenade’s ruling only applied to the two women.
“[N]othing in the orders of Judge Grenadae requires Alabama probate judges to issue marriage licenses that are illegal in Alabama,” he wrote. “Pursuant to … the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Alabama probate judges are not subject to those orders because the probate judges are not parties or associated with any party in those cases.”
“[T]he injunction and the stay or the lifting thereof can only apply to the sole defendant, the Alabama attorney general,” Moore said. “I urge you to uphold and support the Alabama Constitution and the Constitution of the United States to the best of your ability. So help you God.”
Moore also wrote a letter to Gov. Robert Bentley, urging him to “uphold and support the Alabama Constitution with respect to marriage, both for the welfare of this state and for our posterity.”
“Be advised that I will stand with you to stop judicial tyranny and any unlawful opinions issued without constitutional authority,” he stated.
Bentley issued a statement soon after, vowing to fight to defend Alabama’s Sanctity of Marriage Amendment.
“The people of Alabama elected me to uphold our state Constitution, and when I took the oath of office last week, that is what I promised to do,” the governor said. “The people of Alabama voted in a constitutional amendment to define marriage as being between man and woman. As governor, I must uphold the Constitution.”
SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER FILES COMPLAINT
But the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) filed a judicial ethics complaint against Moore over his letter to Gov. Bentley, and the homosexual activist group Human Rights Campaign (HRC) submitted 28,000 petition signatures to the JIC calling for Moore’s removal.
As confusion ensued over Moore’s letter to probate judges, one judge, John Enslen of Elmore County, asked the full Alabama Supreme Court for further guidance. In March 2015, six of the nine judges of the Alabama Supreme Court released a historic order halting the issuance of same-sex “marriage” licenses in the state. Moore recused himself from the matter and was not included in the order.
“As it has done for approximately two centuries, Alabama law allows for ‘marriage’ between only one man and one woman,” the 148-page order read. “Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to this law. Nothing in the United States Constitution alters or overrides this duty.”
In January, Moore sent another letter reinforcing the full court’s order six months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.
“Until further decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court that Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect,” he wrote on Jan. 6.
But he also noted that his order does not weigh in on how June’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling has impact on the Alabama Supreme Court’s directive, leaving the matter in the hands of the rest of the court.
“I am not at liberty to provide any guidance to Alabama probate judges on the effect of Obergefell on the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court. That issue remains before the entire court, which continues to deliberate on the matter,” Moore wrote.
STARLING’S ‘REMOVE ROY MOORE’ RALLY
Days after Moore’s issuance of the letter, Starling hosted a “Remove Roy Moore” rally on the steps of the Alabama Supreme Court, where he made judicial complaint forms available to attendees in his push to have Moore removed from the bench. (Rally video posted below report.)
“What I am looking for is 50 people to take the long and laborious time to sit down and fill these complaint forms out, have them notarized in front of a legal notary and have them registered today,” he declared to those gathered.
Starling later led the crowd in a chant of “Sinners hate; God does not,” flanked by Unitarian Universalist clergy, leaders of atheist groups and members of the homosexual activist Human Rights Campaign.
“When we were in Sunday School, they told me Jesus loves all the little children,” he said. “Red and yellow, black and white, gay and straight, day and night—all are precious in His sight.”
“Now if you decide to take it upon yourself to shove hate and discrimination in the mouth of God that is for you to answer for,” Starling told the crowd. “Because the God that I know, the God who guides me, the God who has whispered in my ear and saved me from being attacked … loves all of us.”
JUDICIAL INQUIRY COMMISSION FILES ETHICS CHARGES FOLLOWING COMPLAINTS
On Friday, the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) announced that it had filed ethics charges against Moore as a result of the complaints, and suspended the chief justice while he faces a trial before the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.
“The Judicial Inquiry Commission has no authority over the Administrative Orders of the Chief Justice of Alabama or the legal injunction of the Alabama Supreme Court prohibiting probate judges from issuing same-sex marriage licenses,” Moore said in a statement.
Moore had been removed from office in 2003 after SPLC co-founder Morris Dees took issue with Moore’s display of the Ten Commandments on the state Supreme Court grounds, arguing that the chief justice “placed this monument here to acknowledge the sovereignty of God over the affairs of men.”
Moore firmly defended his decision to place the Ten Commandments in the courthouse, stating, “Without God there can be no ethics.”
He was reelected as chief justice in 2012.