Last edited: February 14, 2005

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 concurring opinion.

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David White, state coordinator for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Alabama, said Moore’s opinion reflected outdated thinking.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 said.

John Giles, state president of the Christian Coalition, applauded Moore’s decision, saying it protected the institution of marriage and strengthened the traditional family.

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 a crime.

"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 wrote.

John Durward, the father’s attorney, said his client "is very relieved."

The mother’s attorney, Wendy Crew, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

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