Disgraced Judge Roy Moore Returns As GOP Frontrunner For Alabama Senate Seat—With Donald Trump’s Blessing

As Alabama's chief justice, Moore instructed judges to ignore marriage equality months after "Obergefell v. Hodges."

Roy Moore could be called Alabama’s comeback kid: The state Supreme Court justice was unseated in 2003 for refusing to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from in front of the state courthouse. He was reelected in 2012, but then suspended for the remainder of his term in 2016 for instructing judges to continue barring same-sex couples from marrying after Obergefell v. Hodges—even after a federal judge overturned the state’s ban.

In April, the still-suspended Moore officially resigned from the Alabama Supreme Court to launch a campaign for the Senate. After Tuesday’s GOP primary proved too close to call, he’ll now face Luther Strange in a special runoff election before the general election on December 12. (Strange was appointed to fill the senate seat vacated when Jeff Sessions became U.S. Attorney General.)

Neither Moore nor Strange garnered more than 50% of the vote, but polls put Moore in the lead for the Republican slot. On Wednesday, Donald Trump tweeted a message of support to both candidates.

Should he be elected, Moore will no doubt bring his homophobic rancor to Washington. While a judge, he branded trans people as mentally ill and declared same-sex marriage would “literally cause the destruction of our country or lead to the destruction of our country over the long run.”

Six months after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality on the federal level, Moore sent a memo to probate judges insisting Alabama’s ban was still in effect, an abuse of his power as chief justice according to the state Judicial Inquiry Commission.

Gary Tramontina/Getty Images

“They said I tried to influence them. I said it’s their decision,” Moore told supporters last year. He insisted the complaint was filed by people who “don’t want anybody opposing any agenda of the homosexual movement.”

Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, has described Moore as “the ayatollah of Alabama.”

“Alabama is a great state and deserves better than a chief justice who thinks he is above the law.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.