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Marriage Equality

WATCH: Marriage Equality Ruling an 'Atrocity,' Says Alabama Justice

WATCH: Marriage Equality Ruling an 'Atrocity,' Says Alabama Justice

Justice Tom Parker

State Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker urges states to disobey the ruling and adds that gay people already had equal marriage rights -- to marry someone of the opposite sex.

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It's probably no surprise that Chief Justice Roy Moore isn't the only antigay member of the Alabama Supreme Court -- now Justice Tom Parker, who is up for reelection next year, is saying state courts should defy the U.S. Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling.

"There is nothing in the Constitution that delegates any right over marriage to the federal government," Parker said in a Tuesday interview on Focal Point, a radio show hosted by the virulently antigay activist Bryan Fischer. With the Obergefell marriage equality decision in June, the high court "is intruding into the state prerogative over marriage, and this is an atrocity," he said.

Parker and Fischer both said there was no constitutional question of equal protection for the U.S. Supreme Court to settle -- they claimed that gays and lesbians already had the same right to marriage as heterosexuals, as long as they married someone of the opposite sex.

"The states should be a check on the federal government," Parker continued, "and the proper organ within a state to do that versus the U.S. Supreme Court would be a state supreme court. Now, I doubt that it would be a blanket defiance of all jurisdiction on the U.S. Supreme Court, but in regards to the Obergefell decision where it's clear that they jumped outside of all of the precedents in order to impose their will on this country, that yes, resisting that decision could maybe start a revival of what we need in this country and return to our original founding principles."

Parker also suggested that the justices who voted for marriage equality be impeached, and he contended that courts where judges are elected rather than appointed are more responsive to the public. In Alabama, state Supreme Court justices are elected for six-year terms. Parker was first elected to the court in 2004 and reelected in 2010. He is so far unopposed in his 2016 reelection bid.

Parker has a long history of anti-LGBT activism. He was the founding executive director of the Alabama Family Alliance (now called the Alabama Policy Institute), a far-right think tank, and Alabama Family Advocates, which were state organizations associated with right-wing minister James Dobson and Focus on the Family. When he was in private practice as a lawyer, he handled cases advocating for prayer in public schools.

Just last month, when the Alabama Supreme Court refused to recognize a lesbian's adoption of her former partner's children, Parking wrote a special ruling that was even more homophobic than the majority decision, saying adoption is a privilege, not a right, and that children should be raised "with both a father and a mother."

Watch a clip from the interview below, courtesy of Right Wing Watch; a longer version is here.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.