Roy Moore Speaks Out on Gays
Associated Press, March 25, 2002
LEEDS—Chief Justice Roy Moore said homosexuality is
an "inherent evil," not necessarily the people who practice it.
Moore, publicly defending himself Saturday for the first time since
criticizing homosexuality in an Alabama Supreme Court ruling, said his 35-page
ruling had been distorted.
"I think the biggest confusion people have is putting the person with
the act," Moore said while attending an event at Leeds Memorial Park
honoring the city’s three Medal of Honor winners. "The person can be
separated form the act and in Alabama law indeed is."
Moore described homosexuality as "abhorrent, immoral, detestable"
in a unanimous Alabama Supreme Court ruling last month denying a lesbian
mother custody of her three children.
Several gay rights groups rallied against Moore and said he couldn’t act
as a fair judge, particularly when he noted that Alabama criminal laws
prohibit sodomy. He added later that the state "carries the power of the
sword ... to prohibit conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and
That was simply a statement of the state’s range of powers—not an
endorsement of using the death penalty or imprisonment against people because
of their sexual orientation, Moore said.
"We never said anything like that, never intended anything like
that," Moore said.
Homosexual acts are criminal under Alabama law, but Moore said he wasn’t
calling for a change in the law to make punishments more severe. The crime
known in many states as sodomy is called sexual misconduct in Alabama. It is a
misdemeanor banning acts of oral or anal sex between adults not married to
"What the law is, is what I must go by," Moore said. "there
is a specific legislative punishment for sodomy and that’s in the Code of
Alabama. All I did was cite the law and they took a comment out of context. If
we killed everybody that was committing sin, we’d all be dead, wouldn’t
Moore maintains he can still be fair toward gay people even though he doesn’t
approve of their lifestyle.
"A person is never biased by abiding by the law," Moore said.
"The law in Alabama says that sodomy is against the law."
Moore is a former Etowah County circuit judge who was elected to the
Supreme Court after posting a wooden plaque of the Ten Commandments in court
and fighting opponents in court over the display.
Last year, he placed a washing machine-sized monument to the Ten
Commandments in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building as a testament to
the "moral foundation" that American justice is based on.
On Thursday, a state judicial panel dismissed a complaint against Moore.
The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a gay rights group based in New
York, filed the complaint claiming Moore would be biased against homosexuals
in his rulings.
Moore said he didn’t do anything wrong in quoting the Bible in his
argument against homosexuality.
"The United States Supreme Court quotes the Bible," Moore said.
"I’ve got a series of cases back in the office where the United States
Supreme Court quoted the Bible. Courts have forever quoted the Bible."
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