Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has been suspended for the rest of his term for telling state judges to violate the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.
The court found him guilty of all six charges of violation of canon of judicial ethics, for telling probate judges to defy federal orders regarding marriage licences to gay couples.
It is the second suspension for the outspoken conservative, Mr Moore.
In 2003, he was removed for refusing to take down a monument of the Ten Commandments he installed at a state building.
He was re-elected as chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court in 2012.
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.
The COJ panel took great pains to explain the decision to suspend Moore had nothing to do with his opposition to marriage equality.
“At the outset, this court emphasizes that this case is concerned only with alleged violations of the Canons of Judicial Ethics,” said the panel in its written opinion. “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.”
The move essentially removes Mr Moore from the bench, as he will be unable to seek re-election at the end of his term, in January 2019, because of age restrictions, his lawyer Mat Staver said.
Reacting to the decision, Mr Moore said in a statement: “This was a politically motivated effort by radical homosexual and transgender groups to remove me as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court because of outspoken opposition to their immoral agenda.”
Testifying in his defence, Mr Moore said there was uncertainty after conflicting opinions on gay marriage from state and federal courts.
Alabama continues to rank as one of the nation’s most conservative and evangelical states.