In newly released memos, the public gets to see how Alabama's chief justice compared gays to Nazis as he tried convincing fellow judges not to recognize same-sex marriage.
In two partially redacted memos sent last year by suspended Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, the conservative judge calls for his fellow justices to resist the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which declared marriage a constitutional right for all Americans, including those who wish to marry someone of the same sex. In the memos, sent in late 2015, Moore bemoaned what he saw as an attack on religious liberty: "Obergefell is particularly egregious because it mandates submission in violation of religious conscience," he wrote, citing the prosecution of Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis.
Moore goes on to quote U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's dissent from the June 26, 2015, decision, in which he argues that Obergefell "will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy." Moore takes that line of thought even further, though, and says the villification is akin to the Nazis' suppression of Jews that augured a genocide.
In the memo, Moore takes the liberty of altering the famous words from1946 of anti-Nazi theologian and concentration camp survivor Martin Niemoller, so that, instead of Socialists and Jews being unfairly persecuted, it is the Christian bakers and florists who have made headlines nationwide as they refuse service to LGBT customers:
"To paraphrase Martin Niemoller:
They came for the florists,
but I didn't deal in flowers;
They came for the bakers,
but I didn't bake cakes;
They came for a county clerk in Kentucky,
but that seemed far away
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak out."
The Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission brought ethics charges against Moore in response to his January 6 order to probate judges that insisted it was their duty not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Moore's hearing is set for Monday, at which point the Alabama Court of the Judiciary will determine whether a trial is in order.
Moore's actions have been decried by the Southern Poverty Law Center as well as the Human Rights Campaign.
Nazi references are always problematic. But Niemoller's words have recently gained new life as an argument against voting for Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee who supports rhw so-called religious freedom ideals that Moore is pushing. Trump's primary opponent John Kasich briefly ran ads attacking Trump's rhetoric as dangerous, before deciding he'd run a campaign devoid of attacks. The ad is making its way around Facebook these days. Watch it below: