Alabama

From Selma to Shelby County to Ferguson

This op-ed was originally published at The Huffington Post.

Fifty years ago in Alabama hundreds of peaceful marchers calling for voting rights were violently attacked by state police. Fifty years later Americans from all walks of life are expected to gather this weekend to mark the anniversary of what became known as Bloody Sunday and embrace the spirit for courage, sacrifice and justice of those women and men who marched, were beaten and no doubt underestimated the impact that their bruises would have on future generations.

The events of that day and the tense days and weeks that followed shocked our national consciousness and became a catalyst for passage of what some call the "crown jewel" of the civil rights movement, the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It's a law that held bipartisan support and helped protect countless Americans from discrimination at the ballot box for almost five decades.

Every year since that bloody day we have honored those 600-plus marchers who put their lives on the line in pursuit of basic democratic rights and racial justice. But this year, with a passion as never before, we must do more than just give lip service. This time marchers of today must clearly connect with the purpose in the pain that started in prayer on a Sunday morning and ended on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, with blood and tears in the afternoon. Why? Because as John Legend so eloquently put it last week, "Selma is now."

The shadow of Bloody Sunday is there, nearly two years after a core provision of the Voting Rights Act was gutted by the Supreme Court in the Shelby County case, as we practice patience for Congress to restore and strengthen what was taken away. When our leaders say that they honor those who refused to turn around, will they also commit to restoring the kinds of voting protections that they were marching for?

Today, 40 bills to restrict voting rights have been introduced in states across the country, from voter ID legislation to proposals reducing access to absentee ballots to bills that would make it more difficult for those with past criminal convictions to vote. When our leaders say they honor those who were beaten and bruised with billy clubs 50 years ago, will they also commit to voting against proposed laws that would make it harder for all people to have an equal voice in our democracy? Will they commit to confirming the highly qualified Loretta Lynch, a woman with a strong commitment to civil rights, to lead -- as the first female African American -- the Justice Department in effectively monitoring and enforcing the voting rights laws we already have and those yet to come?

Today, African Americans and Latinos, especially males, endure being routinely profiled, targeted, and attacked by the police. The report released this week from the Department of Justice about policing in Ferguson, Missouri, revealed that 93 percent of arrests were of African Americans, though they make up only 67 percent of the city's population. It showed and confirmed that African Americans in Ferguson were disproportionately likely to have force used against them by the police. When our leaders say they honor those who were hospitalized for peaceful protest 50 years ago, will they also commit to fighting against discrimination and violence at the hands of those meant to serve and protect our communities?

Selma is now, and the march continues. Selma needed protection for voting rights then, and Selma needs protection for voting rights now. Many civil rights leaders, past and present, and even future leaders, will be in Selma this weekend. But thousands of others who can't be there in person will not be excluded from being a part of a new march. Men and women will with great intent make sure every registered voter gets to the polls to vote in every election, will minister with an activist heart to their neighborhoods when violence upends daily life, will use social media as a tool to motivate participation in work aimed at ending all forms of discrimination in the name of religion, and will organize their communities in active opposition when yet another bill is introduced to undermine, restrict, or deny basic civil and human rights.

On the evening of that Sunday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. informed the media that ministers would march and called for clergy from around the country to join them. He said, "The people of Selma will struggle on for the soul of America, but it is fitting that all Americans help to bear the burden. ... In this way all America will testify to the fact that the struggle in Selma is for the survival of democracy everywhere in our land."

I was not there then, but today as with every day, especially because of the Shelby Counties and the Fergusons, I give thanks and will not forget that struggle. On March 7, 1965, the world watched as nonviolent mothers, fathers, students, workers, faith leaders were beaten, tear gassed and hospitalized. On March 7, 2015, let the world watch as this next generation genuinely honors those who had the courage to take a stand that Bloody Sunday "for the survival of democracy." How? By registering, advocating, teaching, speaking up, marching and continuing their work in pursuit of voting rights, freedom, and justice as if our unseen bruises, our lives, our souls depend on it.

PFAW Foundation

AL Gov's Pastor Urged Him To Defy Federal Courts On Marriage To Prevent America's Collapse

In a sermon earlier this month, Gil McKee, the pastor of the Tuscaloosa church attended by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, recalled how he pleaded with the governor to stand with the state’s Chief Justice Roy Moore and refuse to follow a federal court ruling legalizing marriage equality in the state.

Bentley provoked the ire of some of his fellow conservatives when he said he wouldn't stop state probate judges from issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, putting him in direct conflict with Moore.

McKee told his congregation that he had had a long talk with Bentley urging him to defy the courts on marriage, implying that same-sex marriage could lead to the collapse of the United States.

“Here’s what I said to our governor yesterday,” McKee said. “'Governor, I don’t care if all 49 other states go for this same-sex marriage business, let’s be different in the state of Alabama. Let’s do what we know is the right thing to do … The reality is, we’re still living in a very conservative state. The people who are conservative and who are Christian, if you’ll just step up and lead out on this thing, if you’ll give the word to our chief justice to call all our probate judges…and say, "listen, don’t you issue one single license until the federal government does its thing and we decide whether we’re going to follow it or not, don’t you issue one of those." I’m telling you, the people of this state would rally behind that.'”

He added that he would be willing to go to jail in protest of same-sex marriage, because “there’s nothing gray about this issue. Not if you’re going to go by what God says, and God has made it very clear that marriage is between one man and one women, period. That settles it. That’s it.”

Later in the service, McKee prayed for elected officials to defy laws that go against God’s law:

“Lord we want to pray for those who are in places of leadership in our county, Lord, in our city, Lord, in our state. Lord, for those who are Christians, if it comes to the point of defying a law or an order that goes against your law and order, then God give them the courage to do it.”

Roy Moore: Ban Gay Marriage To Keep Bisexuals And 'Transgendered' From Marrying Multiple People

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore doesn’t seem to quite understand the LGBT community that he is so set against, telling the Associated Press this weekend that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality, bisexual and “transgendered” people will then demand to marry two people each. “Can they marry two persons, one of the same sex and one of the opposite sex? Then, you've got a family of four or how many?" he asked:

Moore argues that no federal court, even the U.S. Supreme Court, has the right to define marriage.

"You're taking any definition of a family away. When two bisexuals or two transgendered marry, how large is that family? Can they marry two persons, one of the same sex and one of the opposite sex? Then, you've got a family of four or how many?"

Moore also resisted comparisons of his standoff with the federal courts over marriage equality to former Gov. George Wallace’s stand against desegregation, saying that one major difference is that Wallace eventually backed down, and he won’t:

Moore's actions have drawn inevitable comparisons to former Gov. George Wallace's 1963 largely symbolic "stand in the schoolhouse door" aimed at preventing desegregation at the University of Alabama, nine years after education segregation was ruled illegal.

Moore said there is another difference.

"George Wallace moved," he said, noting how the former governor eventually stepped aside.

"I can't move from my position because I'm bound to uphold the Constitution," Moore said.

Matt Barber: States Should Defy Roe And Jail Abortion Providers

Matt Barber joined Steve Deace on his radio program yesterday to discuss the actions of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who’s urging judges in his state to defy a federal judge and refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

Barber told Deace that whether or not the United States Supreme Court has “the authority to redefine the institution of marriage, which cannot be done, it’s contrary to reality to say that it’s anything other than the male and female,” Moore is on “solid legal ground” in claiming that the Alabama Supreme Court takes precedence over the federal district court that issued the marriage ruling.

Deace asked Barber why the conservative movement was less willing to defy the federal courts during Judge Moore’s 2003 standoff over placing a Ten Commandments monument in his courthouse or after Roe v. Wade, “when the court said, ‘We’re going to start just massacring, dismembering little innocent babies.’”

Barber agreed that states should have simply ignored the court’s ruling in Roe: “Why, back when the courts issued their ridiculous, non-scientific ruling in Roe v. Wade, why didn’t states like Texas and other states say, ‘Okay, well thank you for your opinion, but nope, here in the state of Texas, you kill an unborn child, you’ve committed murder, we’re going to throw you in jail for it’?”

Later in the interview, Deace repeated his prediction that a sweeping marriage ruling would ignite an even greater culture war battle than Roe did.

Barber agreed, saying the “goal all along” of the “sin-based, sodomy-based marriage” movement has been to persecute Christians.

“Religious liberty and so-called gay marriage cannot coexist in harmony,” he said. “If the Supreme Court goes Roe v. Wade on this decision and divines a new-fangled right to sin-based, sodomy-based marriage, Christians will be being persecuted across the country. They will be told, ‘You either put your stamp of approval on sin or you will be pushed to the fringes and marginalized and you will not be able to carry a job or function in society.’ That’s been their goal all along anyway.”

Michael Peroutka In 2004: 'I'm Still Angry' Maryland Didn’t Secede

As Brian wrote last week, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s judicial philosophy is closely tied to the work of Michael Peroutka, a Maryland-based activist and longtime member of the neo-Confederate League of the South, who has been a major funder of Moore’s campaigns and activism.

Although Peroutka quit the League of the South last year during a successful campaign for a Republican seat on the Anne Arundel County Council, claiming he was unaware of the group’s racist views, he has for years been a fixture at the group’s events, including leading the group in the “national anthem” of “Dixie” in 2012, the year before he was elected to join the organization’s board.

Peroutka was even less guarded about his Confederate sympathies in a 2004 speech to a League of the South event in Montgomery, Alabama, which the group posted online in 2012. At the time, Peroutka was running for president on the Constitution Party ticket, a spot that Moore had been offered but passed up.

In the speech, Peroutka tried to appeal to the neo-Confederate group by reminding them that his home state of Maryland “was below the Mason-Dixon line." Referring to the 1861 arrest of pro-Confederate members of the Maryland legislature, he added, "And we would have seceded if they hadn’t locked up 51 members of our legislature. And by the way, I’m still angry about that."

Peroutka went on to boast to the group that his children were carrying on his views, his daughter by refusing to play “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in her school band and his son by referring to the Confederate battle flag as “the American flag.”

He added that his daughter, Elizabeth, who now helps to run the family’s foundation, was known by her peers as “Beth Booth” after John Wilkes Booth.

Even in 2004, Peroutka was extolling Moore, crediting the judge for inspiring him to run for office and boasting that he had Moore’s support because “we believe the same things.”

Right Wing Round-Up – 2/13/15

  • Kyler Geoffrey @ Towleroad: AL Pastor Rails Against ‘Comedic’ Gay Marriages, Claims You’ll Be Able To Marry Roaches In 2016

Mat Staver: Homosexuality Is 'Very Deadly And Damaging'

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel stopped by VCY America’s “Crosstalk” yesterday to discuss his group’s attempt to stop judges from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Alabama. Staver praised Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore for flouting the ruling of a federal court on the matter and lashed out at the Supreme Court for rejecting Alabama’s appeal of the marriage case, saying that Alabama “does not have to obey” any future Supreme Court ruling “that there’s some invented right to same-sex marriage and therefore you can’t have marriage as a union of a man and a woman.”

“That is so far off the beaten path, so far removed from the Constitution that it is no rule of law,” Staver said. “There is a limit to what the court can do, there is a limit to what the people can stomach. If that court were to say, the laws of gravity were fine for the founders but we have progressed, we’re a progressive society and we think they have changed, you would say, ‘That’s nuts, have they lost their mind?’ The question is: Have they lost their mind by saying there’s a constitutional right for same-sex marriage?”

“Have they literally lost their mind?” he asked.

Staver added that legalizing same-sex marriage is “harmful” to children because it tells them that “your moms and dads are absolutely meaningless.”

“Why would we take a relationship of same-sex unions, same-sex sexual activity, protect it and elevate it when we know that it’s a very harmful and it’s a very deadly and damaging relationship?” Staver asked. “Why would we elevate some kind of bad relationship, bad activity, dangerous and harmful, unhealthy activity to a protected status?”

Bryan Fischer: 'Gay Gestapo' Forcing Alabama Judges Into 'Slavery'

Bryan Fischer is outraged that a federal judge may order the dozens of Alabama probate who are refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples to back down. On his American Family Radio Program today, Fischer said that such an order would be tantamount to “tyranny” and “slavery” enforced by the “gay gestapo.”

“There’s a court hearing today before the federal judge, and she may order these probate judges to violate their own conscience and their own religious scruples,” he said. “She may order them to violate their conscience. You know what that is, ladies and gentlemen? You are ordered by an agent of the government to violate your conscience? That is tyranny.”

“When you are ordered by an agent of the government to violate your own conscience in something that you do, that is slavery. If you are forced to violate your conscience to do work, that is tyranny, that’s Tammy Bruce, that’s the gay gestapo. Tammy Bruce is the one that coined the term ‘gay gestapo.’ That’s the gay gestapo at work. You either do what we tell you or you’re going to get punished.”

Roy Moore's Showdown With The Courts Over Gay Marriage Tied To The Work Of Neo-Confederate Leader

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore threw his state into turmoil this week when he ordered probate judges to defy a federal judge’s ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage and refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Moore, who has a history of making extreme anti-gay statements, insists that the federal judge is the one who is really breaking the law since she violated divine law by ruling for marriage equality.

Moore’s call for statewide defiance of the federal judiciary’s “tyranny” stems from a belief that the Constitution was made to protect biblical commandments, so that anything that goes against his personal interpretation of the Bible is therefore in violation of the Constitution.

Moore shares that belief with a powerful ally: Michael Peroutka, a neo-Confederate activist who is also one of the most influential behind-the-scenes figures in the Religious Right’s reimagining of American law.

Peroutka, who once held a leadership position in the neo-Confederate League of the South and remained a member of the group until it hampered his run for a local office in Maryland last year, promotes this theocratic view of the law through his group the Institute on the Constitution. Speaking at an event at the Institute in 2011, Moore gushed that Peroutka would help lead America to a “glorious triumph” over the federal government’s “tyranny.”

But Peroutka is more than a friend and ideological ally to Moore: he has funded Moore’s activism for more than a decade, and in 2012 bankrolled Moore’s successful campaign for the top seat on the Alabama Supreme Court.

After Moore was removed from his original position on Alabama’s high court in 2003 for defying a federal court order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building, Peroutka paid for the ousted judge to go on a national speaking tour to build support for his cause. He also funded a group that held rallies in support of Moore.

Over nine years, Peroutka contributed over a quarter of a million dollars to two groups founded by Moore, the Foundation for Moral Law (which is now run by Moore’s wife Kayla) and the now-defunct Coalition to Restore America.

In 2004, the far-right Constitution Party tried to recruit Moore to run for president on its ticket. When he declined, Peroutka stepped in to run in his place.

This neo-Confederate leader helped to lay the ideological groundwork for Moore’s current standoff with the federal courts, a standoff which many commentators have compared to Alabama Gov. George Wallace’s decision to defy federal law on desegregation.

Peroutka thinks states should defy and ignore federal rulings on gay rights since federal judges have “no authority” to rule in marriage cases, because marriage was already defined by God and the Constitution was designed to enforce such divine arrangements.

Peroutka said last year that such rulings would “coerce” state officials to “declare that which is sinful and immoral” to be “valid and right,” even forcing them to “participate in it.” Such “evil” decisions, according to Peroutka, must be “resisted at every level of government, even the lower levels of government, most especially the lower levels of government,” since local governments are the true “protectors against those who would force these things on us tyrannically from above.”

For example, after a federal judge struck down Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage last year, Peroutka insisted that Sen. Rand Paul move to impeach the judge who made the decision, defund the court, and press for his state to defy the ruling: “He should use every influence he has in Kentucky to have people not obey this; the Kentucky legislature, the Kentucky courts, should not obey this, this is not lawful.”

Peroutka also believes that local officials should defy their state legislatures on issues like marriage equality. After Maryland’s general assembly voted in 2012 to legalize same-sex marriage in the state, Peroutka declared that the assembly’s decision to “violate God’s laws” effectively invalidated its legal authority, since any law that contradicts divine law does “not constitute a law – even if it were enacted and signed.”

Using an argument similar to the one Moore is now making in Alabama, Peroutka said that lower-level officials could ignore not only the marriage equality law but any law passed by the state’s general assembly, since it had invalidated itself by breaking biblical decrees: “Is it possible that those who are sworn to uphold the law, such as police and sheriffs and judges and prosecutors, may soon come to the conclusion that the enactments of this body should be ignored because they are based not in law, but in lawlessness?”


For the same reasons, Peroutka believes Roe v. Wade is invalid and supports religious tests for public office, since atheists and non-Christians do not believe in the basis of constitutional law…the Bible. He also deems the teaching of evolution in schools to be “anti-American” because evolution challenges what his reading of the Bible says about the origins of humankind. “The promotion of evolution is an act of disloyalty to America,” he once declared.

In Peroutka’s view, anything that breaks the “organic law,” or biblical law, is automatically unconstitutional.

Peroutka believes that America needs to “go back to what God called marriage, not what the state has perverted the definition to be, but what God called marriage.” Since biblical law doesn’t permit same-sex marriage in his view, then civil law can’t either: “There is no way we are ever going to validate homo- or sodomite-‘unmarriage’ because God defined marriage as between a man and a woman once and forever.”

“I always go back to these two standards: What does God say and what does the Constitution say?” Peroutka explained in 2013.

He added that the United States will have a small, limited government as long as it adheres to biblical standards. But he believes that the Union’s victory in the Civil War — or as he calls it, “The War Between the States” — enabled the federal government to greatly expand its powers, thus undermining the authority of biblical law and leading to such evils as same-sex marriage.

“Ever since then, there’s been this huge black hole of centralized power that’s formed in Washington, D.C.” he said. “People sometimes talk about ‘The War Between the States’ as being about the issue of slavery. I believe that history is written by the winners, it wasn’t about that at all. What it was about was consolidating power into the hands of a few people.”

“[T]he real effect of the war and the Reconstruction after the war was to take the very foundation of our understanding of our rights away from us, that is to say that they come from God, and put them in the hands of men and say that they come from the Supreme Court or they come from the legislature or they come from the executive,” he added.

The end of the Civil War, Peroutka claims, produced an “evil anti-God, anti-Christian revolution” that led to a “tyrannical consolidation of power” in Washington, D.C., undermining the “biblical worldview that acknowledges Christ’s authority over all things.”

Peroutka also contends that the gay rights movement isn’t just “federalizing homosexuality” but “federalizing perversion,” even claiming that the federal government violated the Constitution by imposing civil rights laws on the states.

“[T]he so-called civil rights laws are not law,” he said in 2013. “They never should’ve been passed. They’re not law now, they weren’t law then. They aren’t law now because there is no such thing as a civil right.”

Since Peroutka believes “rights come from God” and not civil government, he argues that all civil rights laws are illegitimate since “the term ‘civil rights’ is kind of an oxymoron. There’s no ‘right’ in the sense of a permanent, fixed, thing that you have, that can be defended, if in fact it comes from the civil government.”

Now Moore is once again putting Peroutka’s words into action, threatening state judges who lawfully issue a marriage licenses to a same-sex couples. Because in the eyes of Moore and Peroutka, their personal reading of the Bible takes precedence over the law of the land.

Alabama Marriage Mess Shows Dangers Of Distorted 'Religious Liberty' Claims

Across Alabama, local judges are openly defying a federal judicial order to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The New York Times reported yesterday that 44 of the state's 67 counties were not granting licenses. The state is a checkerboard, where gay and lesbian Alabamans are locked out of full citizenship across vast swaths of the state based on the whims of local officials.

As many observers have pointed out, this week's events make Americans recall the state's historic resistance to federal court orders striking down segregation. But they show us an image of the future, as well ... or at least the future as the Far Right would have it.

Emboldened by the Supreme Court's distortion of religious liberty in the Hobby Lobby case, some state legislatures are considering bills that would allow government officials to decline to perform marriages that offend them religiously. A number of states are also considering legislation to let people exempt themselves from anti-discrimination and other laws if compliance would offend them religiously. While misleadingly framed as protecting religious liberty, these bills are really intended to allow discrimination and to let conservatives impose their religious beliefs on others.

So what would America look like if we allowed such massive holes to be poked in laws that are supposed to protect everyone? What if lesbian and gay couples were legally treated as outsiders in their home communities, had fewer legal rights than anyone else in those communities, and had to travel anywhere from another neighborhood to another county to find a bakery willing to make a cake for them, a hotel willing to rent them a room for the night, or an employer willing to grant them spousal employment benefits? What if a woman's ability to find adequate healthcare depended on finding an employer and a pharmacist with compatible religious beliefs? What if people's basic rights varied depending on where they were, and upon the prevailing religious beliefs of people in the area? What would such a religiously balkanized nation look like?

It would look a lot like Alabama does today. And it would be ugly.

For decades, the Far Right has fought tooth and nail to impose their religious beliefs through government fiat. They have fought to prevent gays from marrying, to prevent women from exercising reproductive choice, to have public schools indoctrinate other people's children with their own religious beliefs, ... the list goes on. And when they fail at changing the laws to match their religion, they seek exemptions from those laws in the name of "religious liberty."

As People For the American Way Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery has written in his most recent report, that isn't what religious liberty is about. And it isn't a vision of America that is true to our founding principles.

This piece originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Fischer: Roy Moore Is A Modern Day Martin Luther King, Jr.

On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer hailed Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore as a modern-day Martin Luther King, Jr. for his order to state probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after a federal judge struck down the state's gay marriage ban.

Fischer laughably asserted that it is the federal judge, not Moore, "who is standing in the courthouse doorway ... in defiance of both the law and the Constitution," before praising Moore and the probate judges who are refusing to grant marriage licenses to gay couples as the heirs of MLK.

"What Judge Moore and these probate judges are doing is in the finest tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr.," he said. "They are waging the civil rights battle of this decade, using nonviolent protest to do it":

Roy Moore Will Stop Alabama From Turning Into Sodom And Gomorrah

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is on a warpath to thwart the implementation of a federal court ruling that struck down his state’s ban on same-sex marriage, telling probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples even as the Supreme Court has allowed marriages in the state to begin.

Moore, a favorite of Religious Right activists for his anti-gay rhetoric and disregard for federal court rulings, posted a piece on his Facebook page today declaring that same-sex marriage and homosexuality are both wrong just because: “Homosexuality is wrong and we all know it. Marriage of the same sex is wrong and we all know it.”

“This is ground zero in the battle for what God has defined as marriage,” the piece continued. “What He has said about homosexuality. How do you want to leave your country? Will your children, grandchildren ask why did you not fight for what is (was) right?”

The post has since been removed, but we’ve captured it here:

Moore also posted a statement from his wife, Kayla, who leads the Foundation for Moral Law, a legal group founded by Moore. Kayla Moore’s statement cites Leviticus to condemn homosexuality as an abomination and slam the federal court’s ruling.

“Founded by Chief Justice Roy Moore, The Foundation for Moral Law's goal is to be the sword of the spirit for Christians all over who don't want to see Alabama or America become the next Sodom and Gomorrah,” she said. “We will continue our battle against evil, and judicial immorality.”

She called on gay people and their allies to turn away from their “sexual lust” and turn to God: “Today the sacred institution of marriage is being destroyed by the LGBT community and liberal politicians who ‘want change’ as did our President; and they make their rulings based on their emotions and not law. Every human being wants to find meaning in their life, some find it in religion, some find it in material things, certain people find it in sexual lust; however, all they need is Jesus Christ. We as Christians do not condemn homosexuals; instead we point them toward eternal life through Christ Jesus.”

“These are the days of Elijah! There has never been a greater time for the kingdom of God to unite. Recall the story of Elijah, particularly as he stood up to the prophets of Baal,” she said, adding that God is “calling on all of the body of Christ to make a stand against the malignant spirit that envelops our court rooms and society.”

In essence, Judge Granade's ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, is not only in direct violation of the Alabama Constitution, but it also violates "God's Natural Law", as well as the right of the people who voted to ban same-sex marriage in 2006 and won by an overwhelming 81%. In Leviticus, Moses instructs the children of Israel on what God told him, "If a man lies with a male as he does a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them" (Lev. 20:13). And in the New Testament Paul warns that same-sex activity is the result of rebellion against God and leads to destruction (Romans 1:26-27). Jesus died for our sins, but He still calls sin what it is. He did not condemn the woman taken in adultery, but He told her, "Go, and sin no more." (John 8:11).

Today the sacred institution of marriage is being destroyed by the LGBT community and liberal politicians who "want change" as did our President; and they make their rulings based on their emotions and not law. Every human being wants to find meaning in their life, some find it in religion, some find it in material things, certain people find it in sexual lust; however, all they need is Jesus Christ. We as Christians do not condemn homosexuals; instead we point them toward eternal life through Christ Jesus. However, we are only a small portion on the kingdom of God; Pastors, Deacons, Youth, and Ministers, These are the days of Elijah! There has never been a greater time for the kingdom of God to unite. Recall the story of Elijah, particularly as he stood up to the prophets of Baal. Elijah's story is in the book of Kings. As you read you see how isolated and alone he felt in the culture in which he lived. Instead of conforming to the ungodly ways of his people God told Elijah to stand up and speak for him and he did.

In such times that we live in we might ask ourselves "is God in control?" Well I assure you, God is very much in control, and these days are special times when God is watching and waiting for his people to fight and stand up and speak for Him. Now we are under grace and not under the law, but the righteousness that comes by faith can be no less than the moral law that comes directly from God. These are not the days of God stepping back and allowing our state and society to submit to the rule of the wicked. Rather, these are the days He is calling on all of the body of Christ to make a stand against the malignant spirit that envelops our court rooms and society. The body of Christ, the church, is the grass roots of the Foundation for Moral Law. The sole purpose of our nonprofit organization is to uphold the Constitution and promote the moral and biblical principles to our government.

Founded by Chief Justice Roy Moore, The Foundation for Moral Law's goal is to be the sword of the spirit for Christians all over who don't want to see Alabama or America become the next Sodom and Gomorrah. The Foundation has always stood alongside God's People. We promote the biblical and moral principles that this country was founded upon. We will continue our battle against evil, and judicial immorality.

NOM Praises Roy Moore For Standing Against 'Judicial Tyranny' On Marriage

On Friday, The National Organization for Marriage joined the growing list of anti-LGBT groups that are coming out in support of Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore’s attempt to convince his state to defy a federal court ruling overturning a ban on same-sex marriage.

NOM President Brian Brown, whose international petition site CitizenGo was already on record supporting Moore, wrote to NOM supporters on Friday that the many federal court rulings in favor of marriage equality in the wake of the Windsor decision represent not just “bullying” but “tyranny.”

“[T]his is the kind of principled stand we need more of our public officials to take—and we need to take such a stand ourselves, too,” he wrote.

We need to stand up to this kind of bullying whenever we encounter it, but especially when it comes dressed up in the robes of the state authority. Indeed, then we shouldn't call it merely bullying at all, but assign it the true name it deserves: tyranny.

Tyranny is precisely the word, for example, to describe the rash of judicial rulings that has swept across the country since the Windsor decision in summer of 2013 that overturned part of the Defense of Marriage Act. And that's not just my opinion: it's also the opinion of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama, the Honorable Roy Moore.

Justice Moore sent a letter to Alabama's Governor, Robert Bentley, this week urging him to "continue to uphold and support the Alabama Constitution with respect to marriage, both for the welfare of [the state of Alabama] and for our posterity."

Moore's letter came in the wake of a ruling by a federal judge in Alabama that claimed the state's "Sanctity of Marriage Amendment" is supposedly unconstitutional. The amendment was approved by 81% of voters in just 2006, winning every county in the State. The judge's decision is currently stayed pending review by higher courts.

Moore encouraged Governor Bentley: "Be advised that I stand with you to stop judicial tyranny and any unlawful opinions issued without constitutional authority" [emphasis added].

Marriage Supporter, this is the kind of principled stand we need more of our public officials to take—and we need to take such a stand ourselves, too.

In the same email, Brown touted his work pushing anti-LGBT laws overseas, lamenting that “the biggest threats to marriage are unfortunately coming from the West” and accusing Obama and LGBT rights activists of attempting “to export a radical view of marriage to the rest of the world.”

And as we work, let's remember that we're not alone in this fight! Lately, I have had a few opportunities to meet with marriage leaders throughout the globe, such as at the recent Vatican Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman. The experiences of these countries make it clear that we have a global fight to preserve marriage, and that the biggest threats to marriage are unfortunately coming from the West — led by the United States (and the lawless actions of President Obama) but also including some countries in western Europe.

It's nothing short of a new western imperialism for the Obama administration and his allies among gay and lesbian activists to attempt to export a radical view of marriage to the rest of the world. (Indeed, Pope Francis, on his recent trip to the Philippines, called it a kind of "ideological colonization.") There's something ironic in all this, seeing how President Obama's foreign policy strategy (to the extent he has one) is supposedly predicated on the idea that America must work in concert with the international community. You'd think that advice would apply to Obama's attempt to redefine marriage, as well, since the overwhelming majority of countries around the globe have rejected same-sex ‘marriage'...

And that leads me to a positive bit of news to share in closing this week: if you haven't already heard, the national parliament of Macedonia recently voted overwhelmingly (72-4) to create constitutional provisions limiting marriage to the union of one man and one woman. And the people of Slovakia are very likely to do the same in a national referendum in little over a week's time!

Roy Moore: 'Institution Of Marriage That God Ordained' Is 'Under Sustained Attack From Federal Judges'

In an interview Friday with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore defended a letter he sent to Gov. Robert Bentley urging him to ignore a federal court ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying that he was just like abolitionists and desegregationists standing up against the “rejection of God’s law by the federal judiciary.”

Moore told Rios that the case is similar to his famous defiance of a federal court order to remove a monument of the 10 Commandments from a court building because the 10 Commandments spat “symbolized the rejection of God’s law by the federal judiciary” and “now we see the institution of marriage that God ordained under sustained attack from federal judges":

Later in the interview, Rios asked Moore what he would say to Christians who are upset that he’s breaking the law by defying the federal courts.

“This is not against the law, this is for the law,” he said.

Moore, who in 2004 helped lead a campaign to preserve segregationist language in Alabama’s constitution, compared his stand against marriage equality to a defiance of federal courts on slavery or segregation. He added that he also puts abortion rights in that category, because “everybody recognizes Roe v. Wade is not in accordance with the Constitution”:

I think we’ve got to look back. Courts are not always perfect, Sandy. The United States Supreme Court is not always perfect. What would you have done in 1857 when they came out and said slaves were property. If you were a judge, would you have followed that opinion? Or in 1896, I think it is, in Plessy v. Ferguson, when they said that separate but equal was the policy that we had to adhere to, would you have followed it?

We’ve got to realize that courts, whether they’re federal, state, Supreme Court are not always perfect. And sometimes their rulings will contradict the Constitution, as did the United States Supreme Court opinion in Dred Scott, as it did in Plessy v. Ferguson, as it did in Roe v. Wade. Everybody recognizes Roe v. Wade is not in accordance with the Constitution, but you know, there it is as law. So I submit to you that we’ve got to look at these things very carefully.

Roy Moore Supporter: LGBT Rights Advocates Are The Real Anarchists Because They Defy God's Law

When Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore sent a letter to Gov. Robert Bentley this week urging him to ignore a federal court ruling striking down the state’s ban on gay marriage, many in the Religious Right were elated.

One of those rejoicing is Janet Mefferd, who on her radio program today called Judge Moore’s stand against the federal court a “wonderful thing to see”  and invited Wisconsin pastor Matt Trewhella on to her program to discuss it.

Trewhella has written a book on what he calls the "doctrine of the lesser magistrates," the idea that lower courts and elected officials can defy civil laws that they think defy divine law, and Mefferd told him that she “cracked up” at progressives calling Moore’s position “lawless” because “who has exhibited more lawlessness on the issue of marriage than the left and the pro-homosexual crowd?”

Trewhella agreed: “Absolutely, they’re the ones who are the anarchists here. What Roy Moore is trying to do, and hopefully Gov. Bentley here, is to restore order.”

“This whole idea of judicial supremecy, this whole idea that everyone has to listen to the federal judiciary is absurd, and they’re the ones who don’t have history or law behind them,” he said.

Later in the program, Mefferd falsely claimed that President Obama had refused to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, prompting Trewhella to repeat that supporters of LGBT rights “are the anarchists” while “people like Judge Moore and Gov. Bentley, they’re the ones that are doing right, they’re the ones actually trying to restore order from the disorder that lawless men have created.”

He went on to explain that marriage equality is “an attack upon Christ” and the next step in a government plot to destroy the family “by imposing licentiousness through law,” starting with the decriminalization of adultery and no-fault divorce laws.

“This isn’t just happening by chance, this is by design,” he said. “We have a federal government that is giving the most base men amongst us the force of law behind their filthy practices.”

As it happens, just this month, Trewhella was invited to share his views in a sermon to the Montana state legislature, which the Christian News Network reports was well received by many in his audience:

“The cold-blooded murder of the preborn, the imposition of homosexual marriage upon our states, no-fault divorce, the decriminalization of adultery, the phalanx of laws created by the State to invade our domestic affairs, disarm the people, seize our property, and harass our persons—all point to the growing tyranny in America,” he declared.

Trewhella then pointed to numerous biblical examples of interposition where the people of God refused to commit evil and chose to obey God rather than men—from the midwives who refused to kill the firstborn male children in Egypt contrary to Pharaoh’s command to Daniel’s refusal to obey a decree issued by King Darius that prohibited him from praying to God.

“Understand, God is the ultimate authority. The Bible says plainly, ‘The Most High rules over the realm of mankind,'” Trewhella preached to the more than 30 lawmakers gathered. “He created us, and thus knows best how we are to be governed. God is the ultimate Law-Giver and Ruler.”

“As God’s minister’s you are to govern according to His rule,” he continued. “You are—as it says in [Romans 13]—to reward those who do good and punish those who do evil. You are not to make law or policy which contradicts His moral law or His word.”

Trewhella said that the majority of the problems in America today stem from moral relativism out of its abandonment of God.

“God’s moral law as the ‘higher law’ provides an objective standard whereby one is able to discern right from wrong, or good from evil. The ‘higher law’ exists independent of the authority of any government, and all governments of men are accountable to it,” he explained. “It is the tyrant state that abhors an objective standard. It does not want to be accountable. It flourishes in a subjective environment. And that is why you are watching Western Civilization crumble before your eyes.”

“May God help you do right by Him,” the pastor and author exhorted.

“I had many [legislators] come up to me and tell me, ‘This is something we need to look into more and learn more about,'” he explained. “When people are taught for the word of God regarding civil government, they are able to see the purpose, functions and limits of civil government,” he said, adding that when citizens remain ignorant of these matters “it makes it much easier for the state to do things beyond its biblical or constitutional limits or restraints.”

Following the presentation of the sermon on Sunday, Trewhella also taught at meetings throughout the week in various cities, including in Plains, Missoula, Butte and Bozeman. In addition to the attendance of local residents, several government officials were present at the meetings as well.

“It’s been really good what’s happened here,” Trewhella said.

Roy Moore’s Approach To The Constitution: 'They Didn't Bring The Quran Over On The Pilgrim Ship'

In January of last year, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore denounced the decriminalization of sodomy and the separation of church in state in a speech to Pro-Life Mississippi and Pastors for Life in Jackson, Mississippi. Moore, who first received national attention when he lost his post for refusing to obey a court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument he erected in a courthouse rotunda, recently urged Alabama to flout a federal court’s decision finding that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

Moore’s understanding of the Constitution is pretty well summed up by his belief that Christianity and the Bible should have privileged roles in U.S. government because “they didn’t bring a Quran over on the Pilgrim ship, the Mayflower.”

Upset that the military was allowing “two men getting married in a chapel,” Moore said that America is forgetting about God and only turning to public worship “when we get in trouble, when they bombed the Twin Towers.”

“They don’t acknowledge Buddha,” Moore said of elected officials. “Buddha didn’t create us, Mohammad didn’t create us.”

Moore, who once described homosexuality as a “criminal lifestyle,” also criticized the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down bans “sodomy” bans in Lawrence v. Texas.

He said that the “abominations” of gay rights and legal abortion are now putting America in direct confrontation with God.

Anti-LGBT Groups Cheer On Roy Moore's Standoff With Federal Courts

Earlier this week, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore sent a letter to Alabama’s governor urging him to ignore a federal court ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage because, he wrote, “the laws of our state have always recognized the Biblical admonition” against homosexuality.

Moore’s arguments may be legally questionable, but his stand against the federal courts seems to be catapulting him back into right-wing hero status that he hasn’t seen since he defied a court order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from his court’s rotunda.

Anti-LGBT groups have been praising the move by the viciously anti-gay judge.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins praised Moore for standing up against marriage equality, which he warned is a threat “not just to our nation’s stability, but to its very survival":

Federal judges may have the last word on marriage -- but they won’t have the final one. That’s becoming abundantly clear in Alabama, the latest state to feel the sting of a runaway court invalidating the will of the people on marriage. In a letter to Governor Robert Bentley (R-Ala.), Chief Justice Roy Moore made that quite clear -- explaining that this isn’t an issue that the federal courts will resolve. Rather, he said, it “raises serious, legitimate concerns about the propriety of federal court jurisdiction over the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment.”

Unelected judges and a handful of lawyers have been pushing state marriage amendments over like sleeping cows. Meanwhile, stunned Americans have struggled to make sense of a legal system that puts its own political agenda ahead of the expressed will of the people. Like most conservatives, FRC has watched in horror as the courts have robbed tens of millions of Americans of their voice on an issue of critical importance -- not just to our nation’s stability, but to its very survival.

Bryan Fischer, who at the time he made the comments was a spokesman for the American Family Association, also praised Moore for taking “a stand against judicial tyranny”:

State justices can, as Justice Moore has done, defy unconstitutional federal rulings which have overturned marriage amendments. Governors, such as Gov. Bentley, can defy unconstitutional federal rulings by forbidding county clerks to issue marriage licenses which would be in violation of the state constitution. (First Amendment law firms such as the Alliance Defending Freedom have pledged to defend pro bono any clerks who refuse to issue same-sex licenses on grounds of conscience.)

Such actions would most emphatically not represent civil disobedience, but rather the best in civil obedience. An elected official can hardly be charged with rebellion when he is simply fulfilling the oath he took before God to uphold both the federal constitution and the constitution of his own state.

Meanwhile, CitizenGo, a petition hub run in part by National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown, asked supporters to sign a petition commending Moore for "standing up against the federal tyranny that seeks to impose gay ‘marriage’ on the state of Alabama":

Chief Justice Roy Moore,

Thank you for standing up against the federal tyranny that seeks to impose gay "marriage" upon the state of Alabama. Your bold stand against the redefinition of marriage and the erosion of our nation's moral foundations is an inspiration.

I want you to know that I stand with you as you resist the federal government's unconstitutional demands regarding homosexual "marriage."

I encourage you to fulfill your duty as a lesser magistrate to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the great state of Alabama by resisting these unjust demands.

Meanwhile, the Foundation for Moral Law, the group that Moore led before returning to the Alabama Supreme Court and which is now run by his wife, hasn't reacted to Moore's letter. But the group did respond to the judge’s ruling by acknowledging that “Jesus loves” gay people but “homosexual conduct is still sin, and we must stand firm for what is right.”

“Alabamians approved the 2006 Sanctity of Marriage Amendment by 81% of the vote,” she said, “and the will of the people should not be lightly discarded in favor of an alleged right that is found nowhere in the Constitution.” She added that the Foundation bears no animus toward the plaintiffs in this case or in any other: “Jesus loves them, and He died for their sins as well as for mine. But homosexual conduct is still sin, and we must stand firm for what is right.”

Roy Moore, 2002: Homosexuality Is An Evil, Abhorrent And Destructive 'Criminal Lifestyle'

As we’ve reported, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is calling on his state to flout a federal court ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, has a long history of virulent anti-gay activism.

His hostility to gay people has also played a role in his time on the bench.

As AL.com columnist Kyle Whitmore noted yesterday, back in 2002, the Alabama Supreme Court heard a case regarding a custody dispute in which a woman who had previously allowed her ex-husband to have primary custody of their three children sued to modify the custody agreement because of reports that the children’s father had been committing verbal and physical violence against them. The woman, who had since entered a same-sex relationship, lost in the trial court phase but won on appeal, with the appeals court finding that the children’s father did in fact abuse them.

However, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed the appeal court’s decision, finding that the trial court judge “was in a better position to evaluate” the evidence of abuse.

Moore filed a concurring opinion making it clear that he saw the mother’s same-sex relationship as the main reason that she should not have custody over her children.

He cited biblical law, including the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, to make his case that “a sexual relationship between two persons of the same gender-creates a strong presumption of unfitness that alone is sufficient justification for denying that parent custody of his or her own children or prohibiting the adoption of the children of others” since “homosexual conduct by a parent is inherently detrimental to children.”

Homosexuality, Moore wrote, is a “criminal lifestyle” that is “abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature's God upon which this Nation and our laws are predicated.”

“[E]xposing a child to such behavior has a destructive and seriously detrimental effect on the children. It is an inherent evil against which children must be protected,” he said.

“The effect of such a lifestyle upon children must not be ignored, and the lifestyle should never be tolerated,” he wrote. “The common law designates homosexuality as an inherent evil, and if a person openly engages in such a practice, that fact alone would render him or her an unfit parent.”

I concur in the opinion of the majority that D.H., the mother of the minor children in this case, did not establish a change of circumstances sufficient to transfer custody to her from H.H., the father of the minor children.   I write specially to state that the homosexual conduct of a parent-conduct involving a sexual relationship between two persons of the same gender-creates a strong presumption of unfitness that alone is sufficient justification for denying that parent custody of his or her own children or prohibiting the adoption of the children of others.

In this case there is undisputed evidence that the mother of the minor children not only dated another woman, but lived with that woman, shared a bed with her, and had an intimate physical and sexual relationship with her.   D.H. has, in fact, entered into a “domestic partnership” with her female companion under the laws of the State of California.   But Alabama expressly does not recognize same-sex marriages or domestic partnerships. § 30-1-19, Ala.Code 1975.   Homosexual conduct is, and has been, considered abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature's God upon which this Nation and our laws are predicated.   Such conduct violates both the criminal and civil laws of this State and is destructive to a basic building block of society-the family.   The law of Alabama is not only clear in its condemning such conduct, but the courts of this State have consistently held that exposing a child to such behavior has a destructive and seriously detrimental effect on the children.   It is an inherent evil against which children must be protected.



For the Court of Civil Appeals to incorporate into its opinion the evidence presented by the mother, while largely ignoring the father's testimony, witnesses, and characterization of the evidence is improper.   It is not an appellate court's duty to overturn a trial court's judgment absent an abuse of discretion by the judge, who observed the witnesses and heard the evidence presented to him.   Nor is it an appellate court's duty to redefine the morals of the State of Alabama.   This Court is correct in upholding the trial court's ore tenus finding and Alabama precedent, which holds that homosexual conduct by a parent is inherently detrimental to children.   Here, the trial court did not abuse its discretion, and the Court of Civil Appeals is clearly in error.



Finally, as if to remove any doubt that homosexuality is disfavored, the court marshaled further legal precedent:

“If we need to say more, if the record of constant quadrimillennial revulsion of moralistic civilizations from the vice that evoked the total and everlasting destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah has been blurred by the mutations of a few years of a single century, we underscore what was said in Horn v. State, 49 Ala.App. 489, 273 So.2d 249 (1973):

Thus, the policy of the law in Alabama-from its civil law to its Criminal Code to the educational programs provided to its public-school students-consistently condemns homosexual activity and the homosexual lifestyle.   The effect of such a lifestyle upon children must not be ignored, and the lifestyle should never be tolerated.



Homosexuality is strongly condemned in the common law because it violates both natural and revealed law.   The author of Genesis writes:  “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;  male and female He created them․ For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife;  and they shall become one flesh.”   Genesis 1:27, 2:24 (King James).   The law of the Old Testament enforced this distinction between the genders by stating that “[i]f a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.”   Leviticus 20:13 (King James).

...

The State may not interfere with the internal governing, structure, and maintenance of the family, but the protection of the family is a responsibility of the State.   Custody disputes involve decision-making by the State, within the limits of its sphere of authority, in a way that preserves the fundamental family structure.   The State carries the power of the sword, that is, the power to prohibit conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution.   It must use that power to prevent the subversion of children toward this lifestyle, to not encourage a criminal lifestyle.

The family unit does consist, and always has consisted, of a “father, mother and their children, [and] immediate kindred, constituting [the] fundamental social unit in civilized society.”   Black's Law Dictionary 604 (6th ed.1990).   To reward a parent, who steps outside that unit by committing a “crime against nature” with custody of a child would represent a reprehensible affront to the laws of family government that the State must preserve.   The best interests of children is not promoted by such a subversion of fundamental law, the very foundation of the family and of society itself.   The State may not-must not-encourage the destruction of the family.

No matter how much society appears to change, the law on this subject has remained steadfast from the earliest history of the law, and that law is and must be our law today.   The common law designates homosexuality as an inherent evil, and if a person openly engages in such a practice, that fact alone would render him or her an unfit parent.

Alabama's Notorious Anti-Gay Chief Justice Wants State To Defy Federal Courts On Marriage

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who first received national attention when he flouted a court decision ordering him to remove a Ten Commandment monument he installed in the state supreme court rotunda, is now calling on his state’s governor to defy a federal judge’s ruling which found Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.

In a letter today [PDF] to Gov. Robert Bentley, a staunch supporter of the marriage ban, Moore cites a passage from the Gospel of Mark and notes that “the laws of this state have always recognized the biblical admonition stated by our Lord” regarding marriage. He urged the governor to “stop judicial tyranny” and essentially ignore the court’s decision.

It comes as no surprise that Moore, who founded a Religious Right group called the Foundation for Moral Law, has taken such a dogmatic stance on gay rights. Moore has gone so far as to claim that marriage equality is a Satanic plot to destroy America and likened homosexuality to bestiality.

Moore previously admonished “oppressive” judges who rule in favor of marriage equality for “warping the law,” arguing that a constitutional convention may be necessary to add an amendment banning same-sex marriage to the U.S. Constitution.

He also said that marriage equality is literally the work of the Devil, alleging that it is leading to divine wrath in the form of economic and societal suffering. “God must be sad about this,” he said, referring to the “evils” of gay rights and legal abortion.

Moore even warned anti-gay conspiracy theorist Dave Daubenmire that gay rights are really “about the destruction of an institution upon which this nation is based, and when you destroy the institutions upon which the nation is founded, you’re going to suffer for it”

“If you deny that rights come from God, then there is no moral basis for society,” and without that understanding, according to Moore, then society will face “bestiality, homosexuality, sodomy [and] incest.”

Moore said in another interview: “What is happening when a president of the United States can get up and say we need to redefine marriage? You know, when they do that they are attempting to destroy the very foundation on which this country was built.”

“They are approving same-sex marriage, fortunately not the United States government yet but they are trying to get that established across our country, that you could marry somebody of the same sex,” he said. “Our government is doing a lot that is to destroy this country and it is against the people. Unless we wake up and speak out...we’re going to lose our country.”

During an address to an Iowa rally opposing a State Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality, Moore drew a comparison to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown: “We’ve got a moral crisis in America. We see the things that are happening in Japan and across the nation, but right here we’ve got a moral meltdown.”

“Today the foundation is being shaken by radical judges, liberal politicians and some in the highest office of our land who would redefine marriage and in doing so would destroy the family as we know it,” he said. “No society is prepared to deal with the problems arising out of same-sex marriages: child abuse, adoption, divorce, foster care, alimony, and the list could go on and on. And what stops these judges from next saying that three can be similarly situated as two?”

He also used a speech at the Alabama Cattleman’s Association to denounce marriage equality, claiming that if marriage equality becomes law, then “we no longer have a Constitution.” Ruling in favor of same-sex marriage advocates, Moore told one Alabama news program, “makes the court illegitimate.”

Moore even criticized the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down laws banning sodomy,” alleging that it is based on “illogical reasoning.” He wrote in a 2006 column for the anti-gay outlet WorldNetDaily that court decisions promoting the “homosexual agenda” will “undermine the will of the people and open the door for even more deviant moral relationships.”

“Same-sex marriage and sodomy are, simply stated, a slippery slope to polygamy and incestuous relationships,” he wrote. “The foundation of the fabric of our nation is being shaken, and only those who would restore our moral foundation deserve our vote on Tuesday.”

Despite the acceptance of the homosexual agenda by leadership in both political parties, the overwhelming voice of the people of our country is against sodomy, same-sex marriage, and special rights for homosexuals. In 1992, the people of Colorado passed an amendment to their state constitution that denied special rights to homosexuals. The U.S. Supreme Court struck it down in 1996 in the egregious Romer v. Evans, but the ruling could not quell the will of the people. To date, 20 states have approved amendments to their constitutions defining marriage to be solely between a man and a woman, all of which have been passed by sizable majorities of the people. Eight more states are due to vote on such amendments this November, and the results are expected to be similarly overwhelming.

The importance of marriage to society and the dangers inherent in a homosexual lifestyle can hardly be overstated. Marriage is the building block of society and the basis for social and economic stability. Marriage between a man and a woman is an ordinance of God, but sodomy was deemed an abomination by the Creator, whose plan for mankind and succeeding generations was clearly stated in Holy Scripture. His design for our lives was recognized by men and women for centuries in practice and in law.

Activist decisions in the name of “tolerance” by judges and executives of both state and federal government should not be tolerated by the people. Such decisions undermine the will of the people and open the door for even more deviant moral relationships. Same-sex marriage and sodomy are, simply stated, a slippery slope to polygamy and incestuous relationships.

It is time for leadership of both parties in Congress to take action to prevent the further destruction of our morality. “It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. … Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?” Those words stated by George Washington were true in 1796 when he gave his Farewell Address, and they are true today. The foundation of the fabric of our nation is being shaken, and only those who would restore our moral foundation deserve our vote on Tuesday.

The Personhood Movement: Undermining Roe In The Courts: Part 3

This is the third post in a RWW series on the reemergence of the fetal personhood movement and what it means for the future of abortion rights in the U.S.

Part 1: The Personhood Movement: Where It Comes From And What It Means For The Future Of Choice
Part 2: The Personhood Movement: Internal Battles Go Public
Part 4: The Personhood Movement: Regrouping After Defeat

As we have detailed in previous posts in this series, ever since the anti-choice movement rose to prominence in the wake of Roe v. Wade, it has been divided over how to go about repealing Roe and recriminalizing abortion in the U.S.

Groups like Americans United for Life (AUL) and the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) have achieved great success in pushing states to adopt incremental measures targeting abortion providers in the name of protecting women’s health and in advocating for national policies — such as the 2003 “partial-birth” abortion ban and the 20-week abortion ban currently being considered by Congress — that attempt to undermine the legal reasoning in Roe by targeting a small segment of abortion procedures.

But the anti-choice personhood movement believes that the incremental strategy is doing too little to end legal abortion. They believe they have a better plan.

The personhood movement argues that small, incremental legal victories cutting off access to abortion will never achieve the ultimate goal of completely criminalizing the procedure — in part because those measures fail to make a moral argument on behalf of the humanity of the fertilized egg and fetus.

At the founding convention of the Personhood Alliance late last year, the chief of staff to Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, notorious for his legal fight over a Ten Commandment monument he placed in the courthouse rotunda, discussed an alternate legal strategy to end abortion rights. As Nina Martin has outlined in The New Republic, Moore’s protégé and colleague Justice Tom Parker has been carefully laying out a legal framework to overturn Roe, not by constitutional amendment, but by the legal redefinition of what it means to be a person protected by the law.

Parker, with Moore’s backing, has been building a body of jurisprudence that offers a blueprint for a personhood victory in the courts. In doing so, he’s drawn the attention and praise of anti-choice activists; Liberty Counsel, a right-wing legal group, has called him a “modern-day Wilberforce.”

Since efforts to overturn Roe by passing a Human Life Amendment or a legislative alternative faltered in Congress in the 1970s and 1980s, personhood advocates have focused on the states, passing legislation giving limited rights to fetuses as separate entities from pregnant women. Since 1986, 38 states have passed “fetal homicide” laws identifying fetuses at some or all stages of development as separate victims of crime and in 2004 Congress passed a similar law covering federal crimes. Similarly, in 18 states substance abuse during pregnancy is legally considered child abuse. In Alabama last year, Republicans passed a law allowing judges to appoint lawyers for fetuses. As Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues associate at the Guttmacher Institute, put it in an interview, “all of that is about trying to build up a legal case that personhood starts at fertilization.”

Personhood USA’s 2014 attempt to insert personhood language into Colorado law drew on this legal history, specifically limiting its new definition of personhood to the Colorado criminal code and Colorado Wrongful Death Act. But the proposal was nonetheless widely recognized as an attempt to ban abortion, or at least to set up a legal battle challenging Roe. In fact, Colorado had already passed laws imposing extra penalties for crimes against pregnant women, the purported purpose of the personhood amendment. “They are changing the tone, they are changing the language, they are changing the messaging to try to win,” Nash said.

Parker has chronicled laws treating fetuses as full-fledged humans in certain cases to argue that “[t]oday, the only major area in which unborn children are denied legal protection is abortion, and that denial is only because of Roe.” He has urged the Supreme Court to address the issue at the next chance it gets.

Parker and Moore’s strategy relies on what the personhood movement’s proponents believe is a loophole in Roe v. Wade that would allow anti-abortion advocates to effectively undo the decision without a constitutional amendment or a Supreme Court friendlier to their cause. In Roe, the Justices rejected the idea of fetal personhood. Justice Blackmun wrote in his majority opinion that “no case could be cited that holds that a fetus is a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment,” noting, “If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses...for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment.”

A federal bill that currently has 132 cosponsors in the House and 21 in the Senate takes aim at this supposed loophole in Roe, simply declaring that “the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being," which includes “each member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.”

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, the chief sponsor of the Senate bill, signed a fundraising email for the pro-personhood National Pro-Life Alliance in November, arguing that his was the strategy that would work:

The Supreme Court itself admitted  if Congress declares unborn children 'persons' under the law, the constitutional case for abortion-on-demand 'collapses.'

Alabama’s Supreme Court is the most prominent court to give a serious hearing to the personhood strategy, long considered by even some in the anti-choice movement to be a crackpot theory and a potential political and legal disaster. As recently as 2009, Clarke Forsythe, senior counsel at Americans United for Life, wrote in the National Review that the so-called “personhood loophole” was an “urban legend” and those pursuing it were “heading toward a brick wall.” Forsythe argued that in 1992 Casey decision, the Supreme Court had shifted the abortion debate from the personhood of fetuses to the rights of women, and that that was therefore the ground that the anti-choice movement should be playing on. “The real challenge for pro-lifers in 2009 is to effectively address the assumption that abortion is good for women,” he wrote, presaging AUL’s revamped woman-focused messaging.

Even more alarming to the personhood strategy’s detractors in the anti-choice movement is the possibility that a personhood challenge to Roe could create the opportunity for a Supreme Court ruling that would actually strengthen constitutional protections for abortion rights. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for instance, has said that she believes abortion rights should be secured under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, making the issue more clearly about the rights of women. In 2010, Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) wrote, “If a personhood amendment comes before this court, a new and terrifying decision may put the pro-life movement back a quarter century or more.”

In 2007, as the anti-choice movement’s schism over a ban on so-called “partial-birth” abortion was gaining national attention, Georgia Right to Life, which was at the the state affiliate of NRLC, worked with legislators to introduce a state constitutional amendment defining a “person” under state law as “including unborn children at every state of their biological development, including fertilization.”

Although the Georgia amendment was based on language originally drafted as a federal constitutional amendment by NRLC, NRLC’s chief counsel James Bopp, Jr. tried to shut it down. In a lengthy and frank memo to his fellow anti-choice activists, Bopp contended that such an amendment would be immediately struck down in federal courts and, if it made it to the Supreme Court, could give the court’s majority the opportunity to rewrite Roe in the way favored by Ginsburg. The state-level personhood strategy, he cautioned, was “presently doomed to expansive failure.”

Instead, Bopp said, the anti-choice movement should continue its incremental strategy, which was succeeding in curtailing access to abortion while keeping the issue in the public eye. He wrote that the “partial-birth” abortion law had been a successful example of this strategy because it “forced the pro-abortion camp to publicly defend a particularly visible and gruesome practice.” Acknowledging that “most pro-lifers” believe that abortion should only be available to save the life of a pregnant woman, he warned that absolutist, no-exceptions approaches like personhood were both legally unwise and poor public relations:

By contrast, the pro-life movement must at present avoid fighting on the more difficult terrain of its own position, namely arguing that abortion should not be available in cases of rape, incest, fetal deformity, and harm to the mother. While restricting abortion in these situations is morally defensible, public opinion polls show that popular support for the pro-life side drops off dramatically when these “hard” cases are the topic. And while most pro-lifers believe that a consistent pro-life position requires permitting abortion in only the rare circumstances where it is necessary to save the life of the mother, some pro-lifers believe that there should not even be an exception to preserve the life of the mother. Other pro-lifers advocate exceptions for rape or incest. This is an important debate to have, and we should be ready to convince the public of the need for few, if any, exceptions to laws prohibiting abortion when such laws can be upheld. However, since that is currently not the case, such a debate is premature and would undermine public support for the pro-life position.

Responding to Bopp’s memo, the conservative Thomas More Law Center, which drafted the Georgia amendment, argued that the incremental strategy had taken too long and done too little and that “after 34 years of abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy, it is time to rethink pro-life strategy.”

“[T]he central holding of Roe v. Wade remains the primary obstacle to any meaningful pro-life initiative that seeks to end abortion,” wrote Thomas More attorney Robert J. Muise. “To remove this obstacle, a case must be presented to the United States Supreme Court that challenges the central premise of Roe — that the unborn is not a person within the meaning of the law.”

If personhood laws were to succeed in the courts, the legal implications would be immense and unpredictable.

The ambiguous wording of personhood measures has led to concerns that they could be interpreted to outlaw oral contraception, IUDs and in-vitro fertilization. But birth control is not the only issue. As the National Advocates for Pregnant Women’s Lynn Paltrow and Fordham sociologist Jeanne Flavin have documented, laws granting legal rights to fetuses outside the context of abortion have led to hundreds of cases of pregnant women being arrested or otherwise apprehended after suffering miscarriages or for alleged drug and alcohol use deemed to be harmful to the fetus.

In countries that completely criminalize abortion — the goal of the “pro-life” movement in the U.S. — pregnant woman can find themselves in terrifying situations: recently in El Salvador, a woman was sentenced to 30 years in prison for murder after suffering a miscarriage.

As Paltrow told Newsweek in 2012, “There’s no way to give embryos constitutional personhood without subtracting women from the community of constitutional persons.”

By redefining what it means to be a person under the law, personhood measures could also have a broad legal impact on issues unrelated to reproductive rights, threatening to upend everything from inheritance law to census results. In 2014, the Colorado Bar Association opposed the state’s personhood ballot measure, warning that the vaguely worded measure would have “potentially serious, unintended and unknown consequences for Colorado lawyers…From areas of Family Law to Probate Law to Real Estate Law, as well as the explicit effect on Criminal Law and Wrongful Death statutes, this Amendment could create uncertainty and endless litigation.”

Daniel Becker, the former leader of Georgia Right to Life and founder of the Personhood Alliance, also sees the personhood issue as extending beyond abortion rights, but in a different direction. The final chapter of Becker's 2011 manifesto, "Personhood," is written in the form of a science fiction story set in a "post-human future" in which computers have gained consciousness, procreation has been moved to laboratories, and a "specialized sub-class of human-animal hybrids" has been developed to perform menial labor. The anti-abortion rights movement, he argues, will cease to be relevant in coming battles over biotechnology if it remains "at its heart, anti-abortion as opposed to pro-sanctity of human life." He argues that only by embracing full "personhood" rights for zygotes and fetuses will the movement remain viable in the future.

The personhood movement, while it has hope in the legal system, also recognizes that it won’t get far without winning hearts and minds. In the final post in this series, we’ll look at the movement’s efforts to reorganize in the wake of electoral defeats.

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