Activist meets with Alabama's antigay chief justice

BY Advocate.com Editors

February 22 2003 1:00 AM ET

A gay activist met with Alabama chief justice Roy Moore but didn't get the judge to change his view that homosexuality is "an inherent evil." Retired Huntsville minister Felicia Fontaine met for about 30 minutes Wednesday with Moore at his Montgomery office. "We left there agreeing to disagree," Fontaine said, describing the meeting as "cordial, personable, and polite." Court spokesman Tom Parker said Moore didn't know Fontaine and other members of Soulforce Alabama were coming but agreed to meet with her. He said Moore was unavailable for comment after the meeting because he was appearing before legislators at a hearing on the judicial system budget. "The justice was respectful but firm in his position," Parker said of the meeting with Fontaine.

A year ago the Alabama supreme court voted unanimously to award custody of three children to a heterosexual man in Birmingham, saying he was better suited to raise the children than their mother, who lives in California in a domestic partnership with another woman. In that decision, Moore wrote, "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."

Fontaine said she told Moore that his comments "dehumanized a whole class of people." She said Moore believes he is doing the right thing. "I believe he is genuinely sincere in his beliefs," she said. "We've taken the first step, which is dialogue. We are just asking people of faith to pray that Roy Moore's heart will be open to our witness."

Fontaine has retired from the pulpit at Huntsville Metropolitan Church. She was one of 200 activists invited to meet in October 1999 with the Reverend Jerry Falwell and 200 other evangelical pastors and religious leaders at Liberty Baptist College in Lynchburg, Va., in a forum and dinner addressing hate speech.

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