Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has released a letter to Gov. Robert Bentley saying that he intends to continue to recognize the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and urging the governor to do so.
Moore’s office released the three-page letter that was delivered to the governor this morning in response to a federal judge’s ruling Friday striking down the ban.
“As Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, I will continue to recognize the Alabama Constitution and the will of the people overwhelmingly expressed in the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment,” Moore wrote.
“I ask you to continue to uphold and support the Alabama Constitution with respect to marriage, both for the welfare of this state and for our posterity,” Moore continued at the end of the letter. “Be advised that I stand with you to stop judicial tyranny and any unlawful opinions issued without constitutional authority.”
Bentley issued a statement today after Moore’s letter was released.
“The people of Alabama elected me to uphold our state Constitution, and when I took the oath of office last week, that is what I promised to do,” the governor said.
“The people of Alabama voted in a constitutional amendment to define marriage as being between man and woman. As governor, I must uphold the Constitution. I am disappointed in Friday’s ruling, and I will continue to oppose this ruling. The Federal government must not infringe on the rights of states.”
Moore said the ruling by U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. “Ginny” Granade “raised serious, legitimate concerns about the propriety of federal court jurisdiction” over the Alabama amendment.
“As you know, nothing in the United States Constitution grants the federal government the authority to redefine the institution of marriage,” Moore wrote.
Moore included a biblical passage in his letter, Mark 10:6-9, which describes God’s directive about marriage.
SOURCE: Mike Cason
by David Person
State supreme court chief justices should value and obey the rule of law, not defy it. But Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore apparently doesn’t believe that.
Moore advocated for anarchy with the letter he wrote to Gov. Robert Bentley, asking him to defy the federal court ruling against Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban. This is deja vu all over again. The last time Moore was on the court in 2002 he was removed due to his refusal to take down the massive Ten Commandments monument he had installed in the state judicial building. Now, as before, Moore is facing a judicial ethics complaint filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Moore’s threat to flout the law sets a horrible precedent. What value will laws and court rulings have if justices in other states advocate defiance of those with which they disagree?
The fact that Moore believes that the biblical description of marriage supersedes any other legal concept of marriage is disturbing. Still, if Moore were a pastor preaching from his pulpit, he would be free to sort through those biblical complexities and advocate for any version of marriage he wanted. But he’s not a pastor. As chief justice of the Alabama supreme court, he’s accountable only to the U.S. Constitution and the Alabama Constitution when acting in that role.
Moore has tried to frame this as a state’s rights issue, much as segregationists once tried to say that voting rights were a state matter. But this tried-and-tired argument has been discredited by the courts and the will of the people.
One of the many things that the civil rights movement got right is that standing up for what one believes often requires sacrifice. For those active in the movement, it sometimes meant enduring humiliation or suffering the loss of a job or privilege. At its worst, it meant fire hoses, snarling dogs, beatings, arrests, jail and even assassinations.
But if you believe a law is worth defying, you should be prepared to endure the consequences of defying that law. You should not expect to maintain the privilege of your lofty court bench while denouncing the very system that you swore to uphold.
Moore has a right to disagree with same-sex marriage, though more Alabamians are voicing support for it. And it’s fine for him to challenge it. But not as a sitting jurist who will play a role in its adjudication.
If Moore feels that strongly about it, he ought to resign his seat and do what the civil rights leaders did: Start a movement. Make a sacrifice. Challenge the courts and any laws, and face the consequences in good conscience.
David Person hosts WEUPTalk on WEUP 94.5 FM/1700 AM in Huntsville, Ala., and is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors.
SOURCE: USA Today