Last edited: February 14, 2005

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.

Mobile 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 testimony.

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 opinion.

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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