People For the American Way Foundation President Michael Keegan issued the following statement regarding Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s suspension today for violating ethics codes with his defiance of the Supreme Court and lower federal courts on marriage equality:
Roy Moore has spent years advocating for the defiance of federal court rulings that he finds to be against his own personal religious beliefs. This is a dangerous position for anyone in elected office to hold, much less the chief justice of a state supreme court. The Alabama Court of the Judiciary has made it clear that regardless of Moore’s personal views on marriage equality, he still has the obligation to uphold the laws of the United States.
In February 2015, People For the American Way Foundation filed an ethics complaint against Chief Justice Moore for his efforts to stymie and defy a federal court ruling on marriage equality.
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is currently facing trial before the state’s Court of the Judiciary after a judicial ethics panel called for his removal from the bench due to his efforts to defy the federal courts on marriage equality.
Moore is being represented by Liberty Counsel attorney Mat Staver, who also represented Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her efforts to defy the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision.
In an interview with an Alabama Christian radio station yesterday, Staver insisted that the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission is seeking the “death penalty” for Moore in the sense that removing him from the bench would “kill his career.”
Bob Crittenden, the host of “Meeting House” on the Alabama-based Faith Radio, asked Staver if the court could choose to take a less severe action against Moore than removing him from his post, which Staver said would be like a prosecutor asking for a first-degree murder charge and then changing her request when that doesn’t work out.
What the commission is asking for, he said, “is total removal, not anything less, not suspension, not punishment, not reprimand—total removal. They’re asking for the highest penalty. They’re asking, if you will, for the death penalty, in that sense, to kill his career, end his career. And I don’t think they can punt and go back to some lesser issue.”
He added that the process of being charged and suspended from his job has been punishment enough for Moore.
If past experience is any indication, being removed from the bench would far from “kill” Moore’s career. Back in 2003, he was removed from the state supreme court for flouting an order to remove a 10 Commandments statue from the state judicial building, which he followed up with an activist career, a number of political campaigns, and ultimately his reelection to the court.
Fresh from a week of anti-abortion protests in Wichita, Kansas, where they held an “ ecclesiastical court” holding the Supreme Court in violation of the law of God, activists affiliated with Operation Save America have descended on Montgomery, Alabama, to rally in support of Chief Justice Roy Moore as he faces ethics charges over his defiance of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.
As Moore and his attorney, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, faced a hearing in front of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary yesterday, Operation Save America leaders and other activists rallied outside the court to support Moore against judges who “hate God.”
Cal Zastrow, the anti-abortion activist who said in Wichita that he was coordinating grassroots support for Moore, posted on Facebook that Moore shared supper with some of the protesters and told them about “the big challenges he is experiencing from Sodomites and lawless courts.”
“The Alabama Court of the Judiciary has some very wicked members who aren't interested in upholding the rule of law. They hate God (but still go to churches) and will be trying to remove Chief Justice Roy Moore at a trial on Sept. 28 for his beliefs,” Zastrow wrote.
One protester told AL.com that she was supporting Moore because he’s “the only leader in the country who is standing up for the rule of law and what’s right.”
Reacting to Ambrosia Starling, a drag queen who’s become a leader in anti-Moore efforts, the protester said: “We are women, we bear children and raise them in godly homes. That is not a woman. That’s a pervert. That’s a man in a dress acting like a woman. He’s not a woman and the law should afford him no protection. The opposite of that is true. They should protect godly homes, men and women, marriage between a man and a woman as the only ordained marriage. And it’s the only one that ever will be right. It’s not loving to allow him to continue in his perversion. What’s loving is to correct him, rebuke him and show him that perversion is not a healthy life, away from God is not a healthy choice.”
Also speaking at the rally was Rusty Thomas, the head of Operation Save America, who in an email to his supporters on Sunday praised Moore for defying the “Federal beast” and comparing the chief justice to the biblical Daniel, who, instead of being tossed into a lion's den, is fighting a “beastly” homosexuality that "seeks to devour any God honoring truth or person who upholds it in the public square."
“As individuals, I pray these confused folks who have been captured by this demonic lust find freedom through the love and truth of Jesus Christ,” he wrote. “Their agenda to remake America in their perverted image, however, let that agenda fall into the pit that they have created”:
Chief Justice Roy Moore is a godly statesmen that is doing his duty as a Lesser Magistrate. His example is so desperately needed today. We pray that other Judges, Governors, Legislators, and Sheriffs will be inspired to follow his example to reapply the Constitutional chain back on the Federal beast, restore law and order, and establish the necessary checks and balances our nation needs to preserve our liberty that is rooted righteousness and justice.
In about 2 hours, we will be taking our message to a busy intersection with signs and literature, then we will pray at the Supreme Court building where the "trial" will be held tomorrow.
Tomorrow morning, we will have a rally at noon to support Chief Justice Roy Moore and then hopefully make it in for the actual hearing. Please saturate what is happening here in Montgomery in much prayer. His is the last man standing against the immorality, injustice, and tyranny that is stalking America. God grants us the victory and may Roy Moore serve as a modern day Daniel.
As you recall, Daniel's enemies were jealous of his excellent spirit, wise behavior, and strong work ethic. They devised a plan to remove him from office and bring about his demise. They stated, "We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God" (Daniel 6:5).
Initially, it appeared their devious plan worked. Daniel was thrown in the lion's den where his enemies hoped for him to be devoured. And make no mistake about the vile nature of homosexuality, it is beastly. It seeks to devour any God honoring truth or person who upholds it in the public square. To their everlasting shame and demise, however, the pit they dug for Daniel, (Chief Justice Roy Moore) they fell into the same pit. The same rock they attempted to roll over Daniel (Chief Justice Roy Moore) is the same rock that rolled back on them. Daniel was removed from the lion's den and his enemies took his place and this time the lion's munched.
As individuals, I pray these confused folks who have been captured by this demonic lust find freedom through the love and truth of Jesus Christ. Their agenda to remake America in their perverted image, however, let that agenda fall into the pit that they have created. May the perverted agenda that seeks to make the good guys the bad guys wind up on the ash heap of history, along with every other tyrannical, blood lust of men who dared to defy and deny the authority of Almighty God in Jesus' mighty name!
The Alabama chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations asked Republican Rep. Mo Brooks to apologize last week after he said on a radio program that “the Muslim community … if it had its way, would kill every homosexual in the United States of America.” Brooks has refused to apologize, a decision which he explained on “The Dale Jackson Show” on Thursday by comparing apologizing to American Muslims for his comments to apologizing to the German or Japanese governments for stating their crimes after World War II. Islam, he said, promotes "death for a lot of people.”
Here’s a couple of analogies that I think are appropriate. Imagine the liberating American and allied troops as they go into Germany and they discover the concentration camps and the extermination of the Jews, the Poles and other entities that Germany was responsible for and the allied commander says, ‘Germany did this.’ Now imagine the outrage that would have occurred if Germany had demanded an apology from the allied troops that liberated those people that were still alive in the concentration camps. Or Japan in World War II, where Japan was brutally treating American POWs, where Japan was responsible for the murders of over 200,000 civilians in Nanjing, and someone stating the fact that Japan, Japanese troops, had done those horrific acts to American POWs or to civilians in Nanjing and then the Japanese government demanding an apology.
This is crazy. You’ve got Islam promoting death for a lot of different people, including people like you and me, unbelievers, specifically including homosexuals and then stating the fact that that’s what Islam promotes, people are demanding an apology for the truth and it’s not going to happen.
John Eidsmoe, the prominent Christian Reconstructionist attorney who works for Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s Foundation for Moral Law, joined conservative radio host Jerry Newcombe on his show Thursday to discuss Moore’s stand against the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, which has gotten him suspended from his post.
Eidsmoe accused Justices Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg of staging a “political coup” by choosing not to recuse themselves from hearing the Obergefell case and declared that state courts and state legislatures have the "duty” to “nullify” the decision.
Eidsmoe first justified Moore’s actions claiming that the Supreme Court decision applied specifically to four states, not Alabama.
“But even more than that,” he said, “what I think we’re gonna argue here is that this particular decision is so egregious that the state courts, state legislatures and the like have a right and a duty to nullify and disregard it.”
He claimed the decision was “without constitutional support,” “arrived at by illegitimate means,” and “seeks to redefine the institution of marriage.”
“I don’t think any governmental body, especially a group of unelected judges, has the authority to redefine God’s institution of marriage,” Eidsmoe said.
Eidsmoe also compared Alabama courts’ rejection of Obergefell to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s rejection of the Dred Scott decision.
He criticized Ginsburg and Kagan for not recusing themselves because they had previously performed weddings for same-sex couples.
“There’s really only one reason that they refused to recuse themselves,” he said, “and that’s they knew that their votes were needed to get a 5-4 majority in this case, and it is as raw a political coup as you could ever imagine, complicated by the fact that it is by those who are supposed to be considered the least dangerous branch of government and the least likely people that you’d think would be undermining our constitutional system with a coup.”
On Friday, Stuart Shepard of Family Policy Alliance, the political arm of Focus on the Family, discussed transgender rights on Alabama’s Faith Radio, claiming that the government’s support of transgender people amounts to “discrimination” against the non-transgender “humans that we share this country with.”
Shepard claimed that transgender people reject the existence of a God who creates everyone with purpose in mind. “When you reject the idea of the ability to know what’s true, you’re essentially rejecting God,” he said. “You’re saying, ‘You put me in the wrong body,’ if you accept that there’s a God, or, ‘There can’t possibly be a God so none of this matters and everything is fluid and unknowable therefore.’”
He compared birth year to gender identity, asking, “What else is assigned at birth that you might feel differently about? ‘I feel that I was assigned the wrong year at my birth. I’m not really the age that I am.’ Well, you’d look at me and say, ‘That’s nuts.’”
Regarding the federal government’s protection of transgender individuals’ rights, Shepard said, “All of these, I mean every time you see it, they say, ‘Well, this is about discrimination.’ Well, their solution is to discriminate against all of us who don’t accept that point of view. It is a discriminatory act that they’re proposing, but they don’t even see it as that.”
He said of transgender people, “They just can’t get to that view of the world to realize that their own actions are discriminatory at the most private level possible, with the other humans that we share this country with.”
Ultimately, Shepard said, accepting transgender rights will undermine the traditional family structure and create chaos. “It comes down to this rejection of everything that’s come before, the idea of mom and dad and male and female and marriage or not married, about all of those things, they want to throw it all out,” he said. “…They want to bring us to a state, essentially of chaos where whatever you feel about anything is acceptable, and we all just think and feel the way that we do about everything, including the most foundational elements of culture and society: the family.”
“There is a deeper question here of, ‘What can we know is true if you can’t even know whether your child is a boy or a girl, what can you know?” Shepard said. “I mean, what’s left that is knowable? And that’s where we’ve gone. We’ve gone from an understanding of everything to be found through science to this understanding of, ‘Everything I know is what I feel. I feel this way. Therefore, it is. And you can have your own feelings and feel the way you do.’”
On Saturday, anti-gay Religious Right activists rallied in Montgomery in support of Alabama Supreme court chief justice Roy Moore, who has been suspended from his position by the state's judicial inquiry committee for attempting to defy federal court rulings on marriage equality.
The event kicked off with a prayer from pastor Rusty Johnson, who called upon God to not only bless the rally and Justice Moore, but also "to stand against this militant homosexual movement that is invading our land, stand against the demonic influences that have come not only to the state of Alabama but across the United States of America" by granting to Christians "the power and authority" to "cast these wicked spirits out of our society."
Kayla Moore, who is the wife of Justice Moore and currently runs the the Foundation for Moral Law that he started, delivered the keynote address, during which she spent several minutes attacking Ambrosia Starling, a drag queen who was a member of the coalition that filed a complaint against Moore.
Conflating Moore's suspension with the current right-wing outrage over transgender equality, Moore declared that she will not stand by and watch as men are allowed to enter the restroom with one of her granddaughters, which then prompted her to voice her outrage that her husband has been removed from the bench based on a complaint filed by "a man dressed as a woman."
"This man dresses as a woman, with makeup, a blonde wig, a dress, jewelry and calls himself a drag queen," Moore complained, as she demanded that the press investigate and expose him. "He works a regular job during the day and, at night, dresses as a woman and goes into nightclubs and bars. Now, I ask the press, who is he? Who is this man who hides his true identity? I charge you, find out who he is and let us know."
After declaring that her husband did not serve in Vietnam to protect the rights of people like Starling "because up to the last couple of years ago, it was a mental illness," she then read a reworked version of Martin Niemöller's famous "First They Came For The Socialists" anti-Nazi quote.
"First they came for the bakers, but we sat back because we don't bake cakes. Then they came for the florists and we sat back because we don't arrange flowers. Then they came for the clerks and the judges and we sat back because we don't issue marriage licenses and we don't judge. But then they came for me and there was no one left to defend me."
Supporters of Chief Justice Roy Moore of Alabama are planning to hold a rally on Saturday in defense of the judge, who has yet again been suspended by the state’s judicial inquiry committee, this time for attempting to defy federal court rulings on marriage equality.
A list of speakers hasn’t been released yet, but it will likely include John Eidsmoe, the Christian Reconstructionist scholar who works at the foundation that Moore founded, and Moore’s friend and former spokesman Dean Young, both of whom spoke last Thursday at a press conference where they announced plans for the event.
Speaking to reporters at the press conference, Young singled out Ambrosia Starling, a drag queen who’s a member of the coalition that filed a complaint against Moore and who has become an accidental celebrity since Moore claimed that she was leading the effort against him.
Young said that it’s a “travesty” that a “transvestite” was able to file a complaint against Moore when “these are the kind of people who want to come into the bathroom of your children, boy or girl.”
He then warned that marriage equality would destroy the country. “At the end of the day,” he said, “our civilization was founded on the Judeo-Christian values, and when you start saying that a man and a man can get married, you’re destroying the very foundation of this nation.”
Young compared “redefining marriage” to changing the measurements of a foot or an ounce.
“The entire foundations are destroyed when you start redefining words, and especially what marriage is, and that’s between a man and a woman,” he said.
Young praised Moore for being “the only one in this entire country that’s standing.”
“If they take Judge Moore down, they’re going to come after your pastors, they’re going to come after your businesses if you don’t make the kind of cake they want, they’re going to make you go out of business,” he warned. “If you don’t want to perform a wedding like that, you’re going to go out of business.”
He added that “this is either Valley Forge or the Alamo, I just don’t know which one.”
Young, who once said that if gay people “don't like the laws of Alabama…then maybe they need to go back to California or Vermont or wherever they came from," lost a Republican congressional primary in March.
Rusty Thomas, the radical anti-abortion activist who heads Operation Save America, has also announced that he’ll be speaking at the rally in support of Moore on Saturday. Thomas, who insists that terrorist attacks are God’s judgment for legal abortion, invoked both the Bible and a movie version of “Robin Hood” to declare that it is Moore who is following the law because the federal government is imposing “lawlessness.”
Thomas subscribes to a version of nullification that holds that “lesser magistrates” — state and local officials — must defy federal laws and court rulings that they believe violate divine law. The leading proponent of this theory is anti-abortion activist Matt Trewhella, one of the signers of a 1993 document supporting violence against abortion providers, who spoke alongside Thomas at a recent abortion “abolition” event in Arizona.
Thomas writes in a press release today that he hopes Moore’s example “will spread like wild fire to inspire governors, state legislators, sheriffs, and other lower magistrates to rise up with one voice to say no to the federal beast, place the chain back on our federal government, restore law and order, and reestablish the checks and balances necessary to secure a future and hope for our nation in Jesus' mighty name!”
The prophet Isaiah warned, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter (Isaiah 5:20). Our nation has long rejected Biblical truth and now we labor under a stupor of delusion. When good becomes evil, it should not be surprising that the good guys become the bad guys. The movie Robin Hood stated our current situation well, "In the days of lawlessness, those who keep the law become the outlaw."
Our federal government for decades has been codifying evil into law. In the name of new federal values, they are destroying Christian and family values. In the name of government, they betray their sacred trust as government. In the name of the Constitution, they violate the Constitution. Under the color of law, they impose lawlessness upon the citizens of America and upon the great state of Alabama.
Our federal government continues to make straight what God has called crooked, turn moral wrongs into civil rights, and demand that "We the People" tolerate the intolerable. In the midst of this tyranny and moral anarchy, God has raised up a champion, none other than Chief Justice Roy Moore.
As a Lesser Magistrate, Chief Justice Roy Moore, is standing in the gap between federal tyranny and the life, liberty, and property of the citizens of Alabama and our nation. It is my sincere prayer that his example will spread like wild fire to inspire governors, state legislators, sheriffs, and other lower magistrates to rise up with one voice to say no to the federal beast, place the chain back on our federal government, restore law and order, and reestablish the checks and balances necessary to secure a future and hope for our nation in Jesus' mighty name!
Update: Moore’s wife, Kayla Moore, who heads the foundation that he founded, is also scheduled to address the rally.
Despite a ruling by a federal judge in Mobile making same-sex marriage legal in Alabama last year, and in the face of a United States Supreme Court ruling last year making its legality the law of the land, Moore instructed probate judges throughout Alabama to ignore those higher courts and to refuse to issue licenses to same-sex couples.
Moore's actions led the Southern Poverty Law Center to file complaints with the commission, which acts much in the same way as a grand jury. When it receives a complaint, the commission investigates and decides whether to forward charges to the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.
This isn’t the first time Moore has been in this situation.
Back in 2003, he was removed from the office of chief justice for flouting a federal court ruling ordering the removal of a Ten Commandments monument he had installed in the courthouse rotunda.
The episode turned Moore into a martyr in the eyes of right-wing activists, although his newfound celebrity wasn’t enough to help his two unsuccessful campaigns for governor.
But in 2012 Moore returned to the Alabama Supreme Court, where he was once again lauded by the Religious Right when he tried to block same-sex marriages from taking place in the state in defiance of the federal courts.
Moore himself has likened the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling to Nazi oppression and has tapped Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver, the Religious Right activist who used bizarre legal arguments to defend Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her unsuccessful attempt to flout the Supreme Court on marriage equality, to represent him in the case.
Indeed, far-right pastor Dave Daubenmire is already planning to hold a rally in Montgomery, Alabama, to support Moore and challenge the “uncircumcised philistine of the federal court system.”
Moore’s wife, Kayla Moore, who succeeded him in leading the Religious Right legal group Foundation for Moral Law, posted a song on her Facebook page yesterday comparing her husband to actual Christian martyrs.
As we explored in a report on the fetal “personhood” movement a few years ago, the effort to outlaw all abortion (and possibly some forms of birth control) by giving full constitutional rights to zygotes could result in any number of unintended consequences.
In a column yesterday in the Montgomery Advertiser, Vanzetta Penn McPherson, a retired federal magistrate judge, poked holes in a recent Alabama personhood proposal that died in the state House last week.
If embryos and fetuses are declared to be legal persons, she asks, would they be entitled to congressional representation? To welfare benefits? To get their drivers’ license nine months early?
1. Since the date of each conception is uncertain and the government is the custodian of birth records: (a) Should the government assign a date of conception to determine the prenatal child’s true birthdate? (b) At delivery, will the average prenatal child already be nine months old? (c) Should parents count prenatal children on census and employment forms? (d) Should the legislature count prenatal children in the redistricting process?
2. For families: (a) Since DNA tests can prove paternity, should a father’s child support obligation begin at conception, when life begins? (b) Would a pregnant woman who is dependent on welfare be entitled to government benefits for her embryo? (c) Would a pregnant mother who is dependent on welfare be entitled to additional government benefits for her embryo?
3. Rights and Responsibilities: (a) Would a fetus, who is also a person, be entitled to an equal share of a parent’s or grandparent’s bequest to “children” or “grandchildren”? (b)Would the presence of a fetus, who is entitled to equal protection of the law, prevent the imposition of a lawful prison sentence upon a pregnant woman? (c) Would the presence of a fetus, who is entitled to equal protection of the law, cause the release of a female inmate who became pregnant? (d) To secure entitlement to rights that are triggered by age, should we award driver’s licenses (at 16), permit persons to vote (at 18), and permit persons to drink alcohol (at 21), based on “birth at conception?” (e) If so, will the presumption of “birth at conception” apply only to prenatal children “living” at the time the amendment passes? (f) Or will the presumption of “birth at conception” also apply to everyone, since everyone was once an embryo, thus allowing adults to advance their entitlement to retirement, and other state benefits? (g) When a prenatal child dies of natural causes before delivery, may its parents collect the proceeds of a life insurance policy they secured shortly after conception?
Even aside from the clearly unconstitutional attack on Roe v. Wade, these are issues that the courts would have to work out if “personhood” were to become law.
At least two states besides Alabama are currently considering “personhood” measures.
Liberty Counsel, a Religious Right legal group that opposes legal equality for LGBT Americans, held a press conference on Wednesday with Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has been waging a campaign of resistance to the Supreme Court’s June 2015 marriage equality ruling.
Moore and his Liberty Counsel lawyers were calling on the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission to dismiss ethical complaints that had been filed against Moore earlier in 2015 after he urged the governor not to comply with a federal court order on marriage equality. Moore, of course, had gotten in trouble before; in 2003 he was removed from his seat on the court when he refused a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument he had installed in the rotunda of the judicial building.
People For the American Way Foundation was one of the groups that filed a complaint against Moore last year. The PFAWF complaint, which you can read here, was filed in early 2015, based on actions he took when he began to insert himself into a federal marriage equality case that was not before his court. He accused federal judges across the country of seeking to impose tyranny upon the nation, and he suggested he might not comply with a potential Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality (which came down a few months later). The complaint spells out the Canons of Judicial Ethics that Moore violated, undermining public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. “Like the United States as a whole, Alabama is governed by the rule of law,” the complaint concludes, noting that “the history of the state shows the violent and tragic consequences when that ideal is not met.” The complaint asked that Moore once again be removed from his office.
In defending Moore on Thursday, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver dismissed the complaints as “politically motivated” and warned that they “pose a threat to the doctrine of judicial independence.” Continued Staver, “Judges must be free to exercise their considered judgment without the threat of being attacked by organizations and individuals who wish to misuse the ethical process to further a radical political agenda.”
Staver’s concern for Moore’s judicial independence is touching, if a bit surprising, given that Staver was a cheerleader for Religious Right attacks on Iowa Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality. After a political campaign that was successful in unseating three state justices in 2010 retention elections, Staver crowed, “The justices crossed the line when they played the role of a legislator and abandoned judicial restraint.”
Moore also said at Wednesday’s press conference that this was about “judicial independence.” But when right-wing groups were cranking up the outrage machine against Iowa Supreme Court justices, Moore joined in the condemnation, saying that the conservative outcry against the justices would send “a signal all across the nation.”
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is winning plaudits from Religious Right groups after he issued an administrative order directing probate judges in his state not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Moore was an anti-gay activist in his own right before returning to the court in 2013, founding the far-right Foundation for Moral Law, which has published yesterday’s order on its website.
Moore told the far-right site WorldNetDaily that the Obergefell case provides “a wonderful time to teach the people of our country about states’ rights,” explaining that his order reflects the fact that “states do have powers.”
Already, Moore is winning support from those who called on state and local officials, such as Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, to defy the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling.
Phillip Jauregui of the Judicial Action Group:
This Order is both courageous and very well-reasoned. We need more federal and state officers like Chief Justice Moore who understand that the job of the Federal Judiciary is not to legislate from the bench, but rather to simply decide disputes between parties consistent with the text of the Constitution. Judicial opinions, like Obergefell v. Hodges, that purport to set policy for all of America are simply not supported by the Constitutional grant of powers given to the Judiciary.
Thank God for Chief Justice Moore! Please keep him, his family, and his staff in your prayers!
Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel:
“I applaud Chief Justice Roy Moore for this order reaffirming the marriage law in Alabama,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “The Alabama Supreme Court issued an order in March 2015 barring probate judges from issuing same-sex marriage licenses after a federal court in January of last year overturned Alabama's voter-approved constitutional amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman,” Staver explained. “In Alabama and across America, state judiciaries and legislatures are standing up against the federal judiciary or anyone else who wants to come up with some cockeyed view that somehow the Constitution now births some newfound notion of same-sex marriage."
“The opinion of five lawyers on the U.S. Supreme Court regarding same-sex marriage is lawless and without legal or historical support," Staver concluded.
These legal developments are consistent with the developing resistance in America to the Supreme Court's attempt to legislate from the bench when it comes to marriage, ignoring the federal constitution in the process and inventing out of thin air a "right" to same-sex 'marriage.'
The American people reject judicial activism of the US Supreme Court and their attempt to redefine marriage. They continue to support marriage as it has existed throughout our nation's history, the union of one man and one woman.
Sanctity of Marriage Alabama applauds Chief Justice Roy Moore for doing his job and clarifying what is, in fact, the current law in Alabama. Chief Justice Moore has a constitutional duty (see Ala. Code 12-2-30) as head of the judicial system to "[take affirmative action to correct any] situation adversely affecting the administration of justice within the state." He has done this today. We expect that the associate justices of the Alabama Supreme Court will once again follow the line of duty before God and the Constitutions of the United States and Alabama as they did back in March."
Bryan Fischer of American Family Radio:
Judge Moore the only one upholding Constitution, which reserves marriage to the states. Civil obedience, not disobedience.— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) January 7, 2016
Note to GOP candidates: sodomy-based marriage is NOT the "law of the land." SCOTUS CANNOT make law. Art. I, Sec. 1.— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) January 6, 2016
This is how you do it. State judge upholds state marriage amendment. May his tribe increase. https://t.co/Of2sNMLX9V— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) January 6, 2016
Roy Moore, the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, is trying to stoke yet another fight with the federal judiciary over marriage equality.
Moore, a Republican with a harsh anti-gay record, was elected to serve as chief justice in 2012 after being removed from that same office in 2003 for defying a federal court ruling on his installation of a Ten Commandments monument in the courthouse rotunda.
It appears that he is not backing down from that fight, as today Moore released an administrative order, provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center, claiming that probate judges must abide by a state law barring same-sex marriage, despite the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling.
Confusion and uncertainty exist among the probate judges of this State as to the effect of Obergefell on the "existing orders" in API. Many probate judges are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in accordance with Obergefell; others are issuing marriage licenses only to couples of the opposite gender or have ceased issuing all marriage licenses. This disparity affects the administration of justice in this State.
Yet the fact remains that the administration of justice in the State of Alabama has been adversely affected by the apparent conflict between the decision of the Alabama Supreme Court in API and the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Obergefell.
IT IS ORDERED AND DIRECTED THAT:
Until further decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court that Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect.
Moore hinted that he would issue such an order back in July, when he claimed that states should defy gay marriage because it is “unlawful” and violates “higher law,” much like Nazi decrees. He has also stated that gay marriage is a Satanic plot that will usher in divine punishment and “literally cause the destruction of our country.”
The Foundation for Moral Law, which Moore founded and is currently led by his wife, Kayla Moore, also called on states to defy Obergefell and said it was “determined” to fight the decision in Alabama.
In a statement from his wife in June, which Moore shared on his Facebook page, the group said Obergefell was invalid and illegitimate: “Not only does the U.S. Supreme Court have no legal authority to redefine marriage, but also at least 2 members of the Court’s majority opinion were under a legal duty to recuse and refrain from voting. Their failure to recuse calls into question the validity of this decision.”
Elsewhere, Republican lawmakers in several states are trying to nullify Obergefell.
GOP legislators in Michigan and Tennessee are attempting to pass legislation negating the ruling in their states, and the Spartanburg Herald Journal reported yesterday on two Republican legislators in South Carolina who want to see the state challenge the marriage equality ruling:
Rep. Bill Chumley, R-Woodruff, and Rep. Mike Burns, R-Taylors, pre-filed a bill in the House to define marriage as between one man and one woman. He also aims for his bill to invalidate same-sex marriages in South Carolina. The bill is titled as the South Carolina Natural Marriage Defense Act.
"I represent the people, and the people have shown several times that they are opposed to this, and are in favor of traditional marriage," Chumley said.
The Supreme Court ruling in June legalizing same-sex marriage came down to a 5 to 4 vote, Chumley said. He said the split vote was indicative of the views of all Americans.
"Apparently, those four people believe like we do," he said. "I do believe that something that's a close vote like that sends a message, it's not cut and dry."
An Arizona Republican lawmaker has also filed a bill that would prohibit the state from implementing any executive order or Supreme Court decision.
HB 2024 would forbid the state from using its resources to implement any presidential executive order unless it had been approved by Congress and found to be constitutional. Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, said he crafted it even before President Obama announced on Tuesday he is taking executive action to redefine who is a gun dealer and subject to requirements to do background checks.
But HB 2024 also would extend the same language to decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. Finchem said that, absent congressional action, there is no reason that Arizona should have to do anything — or use state resources — to comply with court rulings.
In fact, Finchem told Capitol Media Services it’s wrong to even call what comes from the high court a “ruling.” And he derided the idea that the justices created “case law.”
“It’s not law at all,” he said.
“It’s case opinion and past practice, past application,” continued Finchem who got seven other Republicans to sign on as co-sponsors of the measure. And he said that it really is just the opinion of the majority of justices in a given case.
“The court can pass an opinion all day long,” he said. “But until that opinion goes back to Congress and becomes an enactment, and is signed into law, a statute, by the president, it’s not operable.”
One ruling in that category is the decision by the justices that states cannot deny the right to wed to same-sex couples. The net effect was to tell states that if they issue marriage licenses they have to make them available to all couples regardless of sexual orientation.
Finchem said he sees no reason why the justices, on their own, can force that on states. He said civil marriage is essentially a creation of the Internal Revenue Service on the premise the taxing agency needed to know who was entitled to certain benefits.
“If the federal government wants to issue a gay marriage license, they’re free to do that,” Finchem said. “But it’s not a state license.”
More to the point, he said the federal government — and a federal court — cannot force the state to do something when it’s contrary to the state’s own constitution.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican who helped Donald Trump craft his far-right immigration platform, came cautiously to Trump’s defense today after Trump proposed banning all Muslims from entering the United States. Sessions said that Trump was “treading on dangerous ground” but that it is “appropriate to begin to discuss” the issue.
“Well, he’s treading on dangerous ground,” Sessions told Stephen Bannon on Breitbart News’ SiriusXM program this morning, “because Americans are so deeply committed to freedom of religion, that is a major part of who we are.”
“But,” he added, “at the same time, we’re in an age that’s very dangerous and we’re seeing more and more persons enter and a lot of them have done terrorist acts and a lot of them believe it’s commanded by their religion … So I think it’s appropriate to begin to discuss this, and he has forced that discussion. We may even have a discussion about it in Judiciary Committee today. But, you know, it’s time for us to think this through and the classical, internal American religious principles I don’t think apply providing constitutional protections to persons not citizens who want to come here.”
“As a principle, we want to be not condemnatory of other people’s religion,” he continued. “And there are millions of wonderful, decent, good Muslims, hundreds of millions worldwide, and so we’ve got to be really careful that we don't cross that line and I guess Mr. Trump has caused us all to think about it more concretely.”
Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign announced last week that its operation in Alabama would be chaired by state Rep. Will Ainsworth and former state Republican Party chairman Bill Armistead, according to AL.com.
The choice of Armistead and Ainsworth is slightly surprising from a candidate who is trying to position himself in contrast to some of his more far-right competitors in the GOP race.
We first encountered Armistead in the lead-up to the 2012 election, when he urged an audience to watch the insane birther film “Dreams From My Real Father,” which posits that President Obama has been hiding the fact that his real father was labor activist Frank Marshall Davis, who groomed him from birth to stage a communist takeover of America. “This is absolutely frightening,” Armistead told the audience. “I’ve seen it. I verified that it is factual, all of it. People can determine.”
Armistead is also apparently a fan of the work of another anti-Obama conspiracy theorist, Wayne Allyn Root, once distributing to the state party’s email list a column by Root alleging that the president is a clinically diagnosable sociopath.
Armistead is not a fan of LGBT rights, either, writing on the state party’s website earlier this year that Alabama risked inviting "God’s wrath" if it accepted marriage equality:
So, how is it that God’s truth can be turned on its head as the debate now rages in Alabama regarding the meaning of marriage? The answer is that we, as a society, have become our own god. We have made God in our image. But, God will not be mocked. The State of Alabama and the United States of America will reap God’s wrath if we embrace and condone things that are abhorrent to God, such as redefining marriage as anything other than a union between one man and one woman.
Ainsworth, the Rubio campaign’s other Alabama co-chair, takes a similar view of marriage equality. In February, he urged a probate judge in his district to defy a lower federal court ruling requiring the state to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, saying that officials should follow “God’s law, not the unconstitutional and immoral law being manufactured by liberal activists”:
"The probate judge in Marshall County, who is a Democrat, must not capitulate to the ungodly and immoral attacks on traditional marriage," he continued. "If I were in his shoes, I would stand strong and hold my ground in defense of God's law, not the unconstitutional and immoral law being manufactured by liberal activists."
"Marriage can exist only between a man and a woman because it is an institution created and ordained by God, and it is the analogy he used for salvation," Ainsworth said. "Every society that has allowed the marriage covenant to be destroyed has withered away and vanished. I do not believe we should hate homosexuals because every person should be treated with love and respect, but something that is immoral does not become moral simply because an activist judge decided it is legal."
Ainsworth commented on many new writer and politicians saying Alabama needs to avoid "being on the wrong side of history" in trying to prevent gay marriage.
"If the choice is between being on the wrong side of a distorted, immoral, liberal perception of history, or violating God's laws, teachings, and biblical admonitions, I will happily disappoint the liberals every time," Ainsworth said. "During the campaign, my signs carried the slogan 'Fight Obama,' and, make no mistake, the gay rights agenda is the bedrock of Obama's agenda. I will use the upcoming session to look for every legislative remedy and tool that can be used to protect our traditional, conservative Alabama values, and I will continue the fight even after others have surrendered."
After the Supreme Court struck down same-sex marriage bans nationwide, Ainsworth said, “God has told us that marriage exists only between a man and a woman, and His ruling supersedes any ruling by nine appointed judges.”
On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer interviewed Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker, a former Religious Right activist and aide to Chief Justice Roy Moore who has become a radical justice in his own right, for two segments about the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling earlier this year.
After making the case that the Obergefell decision does not even apply to Alabama, Parker absurdly asserted that the Supreme Court had no grounds upon which to issue the decision in the first place because gays are not being denied equal treatment under the law since everyone is free to marry someone of the opposite sex.
As such, Parker said, it is imperative that state supreme courts stand up to the U.S. Supreme Court in defiance of its ruling in this case in order to foment a "revival" that will return this nation to its founding principles.
"The states should be a check on the federal government," he said, "and the proper organ within a state to do that versus the U.S. Supreme Court would be a state supreme court. Now, I doubt that it would be a blanket defiance of all jurisdiction on the U.S. Supreme Court, but in regards to the Obergefell decision where it's clear that they jumped outside of the precedents in order to impose their will on this country, that yes, resisting that decision could maybe start a revival of what we need in this country and return to our original founding principles."
In a column published last week, the former head of the Alabama Baptist State Convention and the president of Alabama Eagle Forum pressed the Alabama Supreme Court to declare that the Obergefell decision on marriage equality will not take effect in Alabama.
Southern Baptist leader Dr. John H. Killian and Eagle Forum’s Eunie Smith demanded that the state body take up a case filed by Liberty Counsel, the same group representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, asking the court to “disregard the Obergefell opinion which four members of the United States Supreme Court said was completely unconstitutional.” They also urged the court to hear from two probate judges who, like Davis, refuse to issue marriage licenses.
“Alabamians elected justices to the Alabama Supreme Court with confidence that they would judge rightly in the fear of God, in step with the Constitution of the United States and the Alabama Constitution, and representative of the traditional values that Alabamians cherish,” the pair write. “We anxiously await their decision. Duty to God, the preservation of our constitutional republic, and the future of families and children require no less than a prompt and resolute decision in this case.”
Obergefell will be a catalyst for the further deterioration of the family, religious liberty, and the values and principles that have made America great. Massive litigation fees will be incurred as Christians in Alabama stand firm on their convictions in businesses, churches, and in the public square. Judicial activism following Obergefell will only intensify as the sentiments of men and women – no matter how "supreme" – are allowed to trump the rule of law found in the plain text of the Constitution and the "law of Nature and of Nature's God."
In March, the Alabama Supreme Court exhibited a remarkable understanding of these issues when they issued a permanent injunction that halted same-sex marriage in this state. Liberty Counsel – with a brief filed on behalf of Alabama Policy Institute and Alabama Citizens Action Program - has asked the Alabama Supreme Court to affirm its injunction and disregard the Obergefell opinion which four members of the United States Supreme Court said was completely unconstitutional.
That request has been pending in the Alabama Supreme Court for nearly three months.
Washington County Probate Judge Nick Williams and Probate Judge John Enslen of Elmore County, have asked for an "Emergency" Petition and a "Protective Order" to protect their sincerely held beliefs in light of the prosecution of Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis.
So far those petitions also remain unanswered.
Alabamians elected justices to the Alabama Supreme Court with confidence that they would judge rightly in the fear of God, in step with the Constitution of the United States and the Alabama Constitution, and representative of the traditional values that Alabamians cherish. We anxiously await their decision.
Duty to God, the preservation of our constitutional republic, and the future of families and children require no less than a prompt and resolute decision in this case. The Alabama Supreme Court should act immediately to protect the sincerely held religious beliefs of our citizens and the sanctity of the institution of marriage – as adopted by 81% of Alabama voters. They should not leave the citizens of Alabama to wonder, "Where is the Supreme Court of Alabama?"