Anti-LGBT U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore has made yet another transphobic statement on the campaign trail.
Moore, whose candidacy was threatened today by a news story accusing him of pedophilia, made the anti-trans comment at a press conference Wednesday in Montgomery, Ala.
Moore, a Republican and the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, criticized his opponent, Democrat Doug Jones, for embracing “transgender issues and transgender rights in the military,” the Montgomery Advertiser reports.
“The transgenders don’t have rights,” Moore said at the press conference, where he received the endorsement of 13 Alabama sheriffs. “They’ve never been denominated as having rights by the U.S. Supreme Court. He believes in transgender bathrooms and transgenders in the military. I disagree with him 100 percent.” Moore has previously said trans people are mentally ill, in addition to his many homophobic stances.
Jones has not emphasized LGBT issues during the campaign, but he has denounced the Trump administration’s withdrawal of guidelines for schools on appropriate treatment of transgender students, including allowing them access to the restrooms of their choice, and the reinstatement of a ban on military service by trans people (the ban is currently blocked by a court injunction). Several Republicans, including Alabama’s senior U.S. senator, Richard Shelby, have decried the ban as well.
Jones, appearing the same day at Alabama State University to discuss criminal justice issues, said Moore “wants to talk about nothing but the issues that may divide us instead of the ones that may unify us,” according to the Advertiser.
Moore today remained defiant in the face of a Washington Post report that alleges he dated and made sexual advances to a 14-year-old girl in 1979, when he was in his 30s, and that he pursued romantic relationships with several other teenage girls, although no sexual contact is alleged with those teens. Some top Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have said Moore should step aside if the allegations are true.
“I refuse to stand down,” Moore said in a fundraising email to supporters today, The Hill reports. He claimed the accusations were politically motivated, saying he was being attacked by “the Obama-Clinton Machine’s liberal media lapdogs.”
“The forces of evil are on the march in our country. ... I have a duty to stand up and fight back against the forces of evil waging an all-out war on our conservative values,” he continued.
Moore was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for ethics violations related to his efforts to block marriage equality in the state. He and Jones are running for the Senate seat left vacant when Jeff Sessions became U.S. attorney general. Moore bested the interim senator, former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, in the Republican primary and subsequent runoff. The general election will be December 12.