HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — In boxing, it’s said that contrasting “styles make fights.”
If so, Alabama’s got a fight in the making with Chief Justice Roy Moore and Ambrosia Starling.
There’s Moore, the Alabama judge best known for so strongly insisting that a 10 Commandments monument remain in the state’s judicial building that he was removed from office.
And Starling, a drag performer for more than 20 years from Dothan, who cites the Constitution of the United States in calling for equal protection under the law for all citizens. She is among the leading voices calling for Moore to be ousted again.
That is now closer to reality as Moore has been charged with breaching judicial ethics and failure to follow the law by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission. Moore is currently suspended from the bench.
The ruling largely stems from an order Moore gave in January directing state probate judges not to issues marriage licenses because the Alabama Supreme Court had not ruled on a challenge to the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
That order came more than six months after the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down same-sex marriage bans, calling them a violation of the Constitution’s equal protection clause.
Starling was among those who filed a judicial ethics complaint against Moore and encouraged others to do the same.
Last month, shortly before the Judicial Inquiry Commission announced charges against Moore, the chief held a press conference denouncing his critics and singling out Starling. He said Starling was someone who only a few years ago would have been diagnosed with a mental illness, gender confusion disorder.
Moore said Starling and a group of atheists and homosexuals had a political agenda against him and he’d done nothing wrong under the law.
Starling came to Huntsville Saturday to answer Moore.
She read from an open letter to Moore. She didn’t mince words.
“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.”
Starling told the crowd gathered at the Free2Be resource center in Huntsville that Alabama can do better and can start by considering how its citizens treat one another. Free2Be advocates “for the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of youth and young adults struggling due to sexual orientation or gender identity issues,” according to its website.
Starling responded to Moore’s claims about her political agenda.
“My ‘political agenda’ only has three small words, I hope you understand: Have good manners,” Starling said.
Moore’s fate rests with the Alabama Court of the Judiciary, where he is expected to make his case that he didn’t violate the law and should remain in office.
Starling flirted today with the idea of running for governor. T-shirts were on sale with her likeness and the phrase, “A queen you can trust.”
She plans to keep speaking up, she said because the politics of the day still target the most vulnerable.
“If the law is what we turn to when we are in trouble, when someone’s after us, when we’re hurt, and now we can’t turn to the law, we can’t have faith in the law,” Starling said. “We have a fundamental problem for everyone, not just the gay community, everyone.”