Last edited: February 14, 2005

Editorial: Mooreís Message: Chief Justice Touts Personal Beliefs in Case

Birmingham News, February 20, 2002
2200 4th Avenue North, Birmingham, AL 35203
Fax: 205 325-2283

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 interracial marriage."

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 wrote.

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 evidence.

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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