(CN) – Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on Wednesday from the steps of the Alabama Capitol.
In making the announcement, Moore said, “My position has always been God first, family and then country. I think I share, and I know I share, the vision of our President Donald Trump to make America great again.”
The Republican’s announcement was met with raucous applause by supporters in the crowd.
Moore, who is known largely for his conservative social views, was suspended last year from his position atop the Alabama Supreme Court after directing state probate judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses. His administrative order followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage.
Moore was previously removed as chief justice in 2003 after failing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building in defiance of a federal judge. He was reelected as chief justice in 2012 and began his current six-year term in 2013.
At 69, Moore is barred from seeking an additional term on the Alabama Supreme Court.
Moore is seeking the Senate seat vacated by former U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, who became U.S. Attorney General in February. Former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange was appointed to temporarily fill the seat.
Fielding questions from the media, Moore defended his controversial judicial record, citing the value he places on the U.S. Constitution.
“What I did I did for the people of Alabama. I stood up for the Constitution,” Moore said. “It’s all about the Constitution.”
Last week, the Alabama Supreme Court upheld Moore’s most recent suspension in a 66-page order affirming the 2016 ruling by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.
In reaction to the ruling, Moore called the proceeding “politically motivated” and reaffirmed his longstanding opposition to same-sex marriage.
“I have done my duty under the laws of this state to stand for the undeniable truth that God ordained marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” Moore said after the ruling.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey recently moved the special election date so that the election will take place this year. The primary elections will be held on Aug. 15, with the general election to take place Dec. 12.
Former Gov. Robert Bentley previously set the date to coincide with the regular election cycle scheduled for 2018.
Following the announcement of the new dates, Strange released a statement verifying his own candidacy for the seat, saying he’s “ready to run whether the election is next month or next year.”
Other announced candidates include state Rep. Ed Henry and Dr. Randy Brinson of the Christian Coalition of Alabama.
Moore unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2006 and 2010.