Chief Justice Says Homosexuals Unfit as Parents
Associated Press, February 15, 2002
By Phillip Rawls
MONTGOMERY, Ala.—The Alabama Supreme Court decided
Friday that a heterosexual father is better suited to raise three children
than their homosexual mother, with Chief Justice Roy Moore adding that
homosexuality shouldn’t be tolerated.
The Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in favor of a Birmingham man and against his
ex-wife, who lives in a domestic partnership in southern California.
"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," Moore wrote in a
Moore is known as "Alabama’s Ten Commandments judge" because of
his fight to keep a handmade plaque of the Ten Commandments in his courtroom
when he was a judge in Gadsden and his decision to place a washing
machine-size monuments of the Ten Commandments in the State Judicial Building
after he became chief justice last year.
David White, state coordinator for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Alabama,
said Moore’s opinion reflected outdated thinking.
"It’s unfortunate Alabama is going to be embarrassed once again by a
religious fanatic in a position of power in Alabama. It’s obvious he cannot
judge a gay person fairly and he should be removed from office," White
John Giles, state president of the Christian Coalition, applauded Moore’s
decision, saying it protected the institution of marriage and strengthened the
The child custody case involved a divorced couple with three children, ages
15, 17 and 18. The father had held custody since 1996, but the mother
petitioned for custody in June 2000, contending the father had been abusive.
A Jefferson County circuit judge ruled for the father, but the Alabama
Court of Civil Appeals ruled 4-1 for the mother in June 2001. The appeals
court said the father had a history of calling the mother vulgar names in
front of the children and of hitting the children. The appeals court also said
there was no indication the mother’s homosexual relationship would be
detrimental to the children.
The state Supreme Court, in a decision written by Republican Justice Gorman
Houston, said the appeals court impermissibly reweighed the evidence in the
case, and the circuit judge was in a better position to evaluate the claims of
abuse than the appeals court.
Moore’s 35-page concurring opinion said Alabama, unlike California, does
not recognize domestic partnerships. Instead, Alabama law makes homosexuality
"The effect of such a lifestyle upon children must not be ignored, and
the lifestyle should never be tolerated," Moore wrote.
Throughout his opinion, Moore quoted scripture, historical documents and
previous Alabama court rulings that he said backed his view.
"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," Moore
John Durward, the father’s attorney, said his client "is very
The mother’s attorney, Wendy Crew, did not immediately return a telephone
call seeking comment.
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