Alabama Chief Justice Moore Vows to Defy Supreme Court on Gay Marriage
Striking a defiant tone, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore—who has already been removed from office once for unconstitutional action—vowed to defy the United States Supreme Court if it should rule in favor of LGBT marriage equality.
Moore, a conservative Christian who recently said that same-sex marriage would lead to incestuous unions between fathers and daughters, has ordered county judges to ignore a federal court ruling granting LGBT couples the right to marry in the state.
Many judges initially complied with his order, but at least 50 counties are now issuing marriage licenses to same-sex applicants. On Tuesday, WHNT reported Marshall County’s probate office halted all marriage licenses, explaining officials there are awaiting a decision by Moore’s court.
In April, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether state gay marriage bans violate the equal protection guarantee of the Constitution. Moore, who openly advocates for a Christian theocracy to replace the secular governance of the United States, said on Sunday that he would not comply with any pro-equality decision from the high court because it would offend ‘God’s’ “organic law.”
“This power over marriage, which came from God under our organic law, is not to be redefined by the United States Supreme Court or any federal court,” Justice Moore told Fox News Sunday.
Moore compared granting LGBT Alabamans equal rights with earlier Supreme Court decisions, the 1857 Dred Scott ruling affirming that black slaves were private property and the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson ruling backing racial segregation, and argued that he was morally obligated to defy “wrongful” court action.
“I would not be bound thereby” if the Supreme Court declares that LGBT people have the right to marry, Moore said.
“I could recuse or dissent, as a justice from Delaware did in the Dred Scott case in 1857. They ruled black people were property. Should a court today obey such a ruling that is completely contradictory to the Constitution?” he added.
Moore continued: “We’ve got this federal intrusion into state sovereignty… occurring right under our nose and nobody is standing up. Twenty-one states have bowed down to federal court orders when they didn’t have to.”
Moore’s defiant stance has been compared to the manner in which the state’s racist former governor George Wallace resisted efforts to end racial segregation and enfranchise blacks half a century ago. In 1965, federal troops were deployed to guarantee the rights of black Alabamans. As it did with Wallace, the Ku Klux Klan has praised Moore for standing up to what it calls “federal tyranny.”
“The Mississippi Klan salutes Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, for refusing to bow to the yoke of federal tyranny,” Imperial Wizard Brent Waller of the United Dixie White Knights, a Mississippi KKK branch, said last week. “The feds have no authority over individual states’ marriage laws.”
“The fudgepackers from Hollywood and all major news networks are in shock that the good people from the heart of Dixie are resisting their imperialist, communist homosexual agenda,” added Waller.
Meanwhile, same-sex couples who had been denied the right to marry—even after Judge Callie V.S. Granade’s ruling—were busy obtaining marriage licenses and tying the knot in counties across Alabama.
Latoria Smith of Gulf Shores, who had been denied a license to marry her longtime partner Kelly Pfannenstiel in Baldwin County, was on her way to Birmingham with her wife-to-be when she received a call from a county clerk.
“She called and asked if we wanted to come in to get our license,” Smith told Moral Low Ground. “She said she was going to go ahead and get the paperwork typed up for us. We went there, answered some questions, showed our ID, paid our $40” and were married soon thereafter. “She congratulated us,” Smith said of the county clerk.
“We feel relieved, liberated,” Pfannenstiel—now Pfannenstiel Smith—said after the small yet emotional wedding ceremony.
Still, not everyone was able to marry in their home counties when they wanted to. Denied the right to wed in DeKalb County, where they live and pay taxes, Heather Guilford and Kristain Sewell traveled 60 miles in order to get their license.
“We had to go to Huntsville so we could be married, which is all I wanted,” Guilford told Moral Low Ground.
Chief Justice Moore first gained national notoriety in 2000 when he installed a monument inscribed with the biblical Ten Commandments in the state judicial building in violation of the constitutional principle of separation of church and state. Moore was removed from office after refusing to take down the offending monument, although Alabama voters returned him to office in 2012. The vast majority of Alabamans support state law and a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.