Editorial: Mooreís Message: Chief Justice Touts Personal Beliefs in Case
February 20, 2002
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In "The Judge," a biography of the late U.S. District Judge Frank
M. Johnson by former News staff writer Frank Sikora, Johnson talked about how
he didnít approve of interracial marriage.
"Children of a mixed marriage have a definite stigma by reason of that
and in many instances it develops into a psychological impairment. I donít
think people have that right to deliberately do that to their offspring,"
Johnson said. "But just because I believe that way personally does not
mean I would rule with disfavor in a case involving the question of
In fact, Johnson recalled a case in which the police picked up some
children, and the only reason they did was because their mother, a white
woman, was married to a black man. Johnson didnít let his beliefs with which
we disagree outweigh the law. He ruled against the police.
Itís impossible to read that passage and not think of Alabama Chief
Justice Roy Moore and his 35-page harangue against homosexuals last week. The
state Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that a heterosexual father from Birmingham is
better suited to raise his three children than their homosexual mother, who
lives in a domestic partnership in California.
Moore, in his concurring opinion, wrote that "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.
"Homosexual conduct is, and has been, considered abhorrent, immoral,
detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and
of natureís God upon which this nation and our laws are predicated," he
If itís Mooreís personal belief that homosexuals are unfit parents, so
be it. Heís entitled to that belief. But as the Supreme Courtís chief
justice, he should stick to the pertinent laws to reach a decision, as
Associate Justice Gorman Houston did in authoring the opinion on this case.
Houston wrote in a 12-page ruling that the trial court, based on the
evidence, had ruled in favor of the father having custody of the children. The
Civil Court of Appeals wrongly overturned that ruling and granted custody to
the mother, he wrote.
"Neither the Court of Civil Appeals nor this Court is allowed to
reweigh the evidence in this case," Houston wrote, because the trial
court is in better position to weigh the testimony of witnesses and all the
Moore spent the majority of his opinion pandering about the evils of
homosexuality to those who elected him. Is it any wonder state Rep. Alvin
Holmes, D-Montgomery, says Moore has violated the state judicial ethics canon
with his claim that homosexuals are inherently evil? Or that the veteran
instigator is filing a complaint against Moore with the Alabama Judicial
Inquiry Commission? Or that the motherís lawyer said Mooreís opinion makes
the case ripe for a U.S. Supreme Court review, which she is seeking?
Frank Johnson didnít let his personal beliefs influence how he ruled;
Moore doesnít know any other way.
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