Editorial: No Sense Asking Why Roy Moore Said What He Said
You’ve got to hand it to Roy Moore. He knows how to play to the crowd.
Register, February 17, 2002
P. O. Box 2488, Mobile, AL 36630
Another state’s chief justice might have been content to let a fellow
justice express the court’s opinion on a case that asked this question: Who
would be a better custodial parent to three minor children—the heterosexual
father who is accused of being abusive, or the homosexual mother who lives in
a domestic partnership in southern California?
Even though Justice Gorman Moore’s opinion on behalf of the majority ably
expressed why the Alabama Supreme Court decided in favor of the father, the
chief justice had to write a separate concurring opinion so that people would
understand what was really at stake.
It wasn’t just the law or the technicalities of the lower courts’
rulings that were at stake. It was God. It was family. It was everything we in
America—especially those in Alabama who support Moore’s political and
religious views—hold dear.
Silly Gorman Houston. He approached the case the old-fashioned way. He
looked for, and found, procedural errors.
For example: When it ruled for the mother last year, according to Houston’s
opinion, the state Court of Civil Appeals impermissibly "reweighed"
the evidence in the case. And, too, the circuit judge who heard the case, and
who ruled for the father, was in a better position to evaluate the claims of
abuse than the appeals court, whose judges read transcripts but heard no
But as chief justice of the state whose residents put the Bible in
"Bible Belt," Roy Moore went the extra mile, reminding constituents
about the criminality and moral bankruptcy of homosexuality, and even engaging
in some unabashed name-calling for effect.
Homosexuality isn’t just a crime in Alabama. It is "abhorrent,"
according to the chief justice. And "immoral, "detestable," a
"crime against nature," a "violation of the laws of nature and
of nature’s God upon which this nation and our laws are predicated,"
and "destructive to a basic building block of society—the family."
Moore did not have to say those things; his fellow justice’s opinion said
what needed to be said. But the chief justice frequently and publicly makes
much of his religious beliefs, which are based on a literal interpretation of
the Bible that rejects homosexuality as sinful and deviant.
Apparently, he could not resist interjecting himself and his views into a
case in which a homosexual woman dared to suggest that the couple’s three
teenage children might be better off living with her.
No way, Moore said. "The common law designates homosexuality as an
inherent evil," he wrote, "and if a person openly engages in such a
practice, that fact alone would render him or her an unfit parent."
Don’t suggest that the judge consider whether living with a homosexual
mother would be any worse than living with an abusive father.
Don’t ask him whether some of the thousands of abandoned, orphaned and
unwanted children languishing in the nation’s foster-care system might be
better off living in safe, nurturing homes with gay or lesbian couples.
Don’t urge that he listen with an open mind to those who would disagree
with his interpretation of law and Scripture.
Don’t wonder why Moore wasn’t satisfied with Justice Houston’s
Especially, don’t ask this question: If homosexuality is
"abhorrent," "immoral," "detestable" and
inherently "evil," does it stand to reason that homosexuals are all
of those things, too?
And if they are, at least in Roy Moore’s view, then can a homosexual
person in Alabama have any hope of being treated fairly and impartially by the
court over which this chief justice presides?
I repeat: Don’t ask. Because the discussion was over before it began.
And we all know the answers.
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