Chief Justice Roy Moore is standing on the right side of the law when it comes to marriage in Alabama. Even though U.S. District Court Judge Callie Granade rendered her decision in favor of homosexual “marriages” in Searcy v. Strange on January 23 of this year,1 Chief Justice Moore is calling on Alabama’s probate judges to follow the law when it comes to granting marriage licenses. On Sunday, February 8, in an order to Alabama probate judges, Moore said:
“Effective immediately, no probate judge of the state of Alabama nor any agent or employee of any Alabama probate judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent with … the Alabama Constitution.”1
Much like Virginia, in 2006, Alabama voters approved an amendment to their state’s constitution defining marriage as the union between “a man and a woman.” While Virginia’s marriage amendment passed by a 57/43 percentage vote,2 Alabama’s margin in favor of traditional marriage was much higher with its marriage amendment passing by an 81/19 percentage vote.3
Many people may remember Roy Moore from the days when he refused to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom. Leading up to his career as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama, Judge Moore had a tradition of serving his country with honor and courage. He is a West Point graduate, a Vietnam veteran and was a judge on the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit of Alabama prior to his current position as Chief Justice.4 That road was not sprinkled with rose petals, however. Moore recounts his story in his book, So Help Me God: The Ten Commandments, Judicial Tyranny, and the Battle for Religious Freedom.
In 2000, Moore was elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. He was removed from that office in 2003 “by a judicial panel for refusing to remove”4 the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building. During his involuntary 10-year hiatus from the Alabama Supreme Court, Moore was active as the “President of the Foundation for Moral Law in Montgomery, speaking throughout the Country and filing amicus curiae briefs regarding the United States Constitution in Federal District Courts, State Supreme Courts, U.S. Courts of Appeal and the United States Supreme Court https://..oral-jelly/.”4 The people re-elected Moore as their Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama in 2012 and he reclaimed that position in 2013.4
At issue in Moore’s current battle with the federal government is whether one of its judges has the authority to decide whether one of his state’s constitutional amendments is unconstitutional. Moore believes it is the right of a state to decide how it will define marriage and his personal definition of marriage happens to be founded upon biblical principles:
“Marriage has long been recognized as a divine institution ordained of God. According to the United States Supreme Court, the basic foundation of marriage and family upon which our country rests is ‘the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony’.”1
Unlike the Virginians who voted for their state’s marriage amendment, at least Moore has the backing of Alabama’s current governor, Robert Bentley, who said:
“The people of Alabama elected me to uphold our state Constitution, and when I took the oath of office…that is what I promised to do. The people of Alabama voted in a constitutional amendment to define marriage as being between man and woman. As governor, I must uphold the Constitution. I am disappointed in Friday’s [January 23, 2015] ruling, and I will continue to oppose this ruling. The federal government must not infringe on the rights of states.”1
In an article entitled, “Judging by Law or Feelings,” which was written following Obama’s selection of Sotomayor to fill Justice Souter’s seat on the Supreme Court, Moore said:
A judge must not rule by his own will but from the law. He must disregard sympathies, prejudices, personal opinions, or preconceived notions and impartially apply the law to the facts of the case. His own background, race, gender and feelings should play no role whatsoever in the administration of justice.5
According to a New York Times story, as of Thursday, February 12, 23 counties in Alabama were issuing marriage licenses to homosexual couples, 18 counties were only allowing male/female couples to receive licenses, and 26 counties were not issuing any licenses.6
Moore said that Alabama will be in a state of confusion until the U.S. Supreme Court makes a ruling, which is expected to be this summer.1 We can be sure of this one thing: Moore will continue to stand for Biblical marriage, regardless of what the Supreme Court decides.