Last edited: December 19, 2004

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 even execution."

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 each other.

"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 we?"

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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