Alabama's first openly gay lawmaker is hedging her threat to "out" antigay legislators who are having extramarital affairs, but she's committed to the logic that led her to make the threat in the first place.
"Obviously I don't have proof, because I wasn't the person involved in the affairs," Alabama Democratic representative Patricia Todd told MSNBC's Chris Hayes Tuesday. "But the rumor mill is pretty strong in Montgomery, and my purpose was to say, be careful when you cast that stone of 'family values.' You need to look at your own family values first before you attack our family values."
In the wake of two rulings supporting marriage equality from a federal judge in Alabama, the state's Republican leadership is not only appealing the decision, but jumping at the chance to bemoan the supposed attack on "Christian" family values.
Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard called the pair of pro-equality rulings "outrageous" and promised the state legislature would "continue defending the Christian conservative values that make Alabama a special place to live." The rulings that sparked Hubbard's ire were issued Friday and Monday in separate cases from the same U.S. district judge, who was appointed by George W. Bush.
Hubbard's remarks, combined with Attorney General Luther Strange's promise to appeal any pro-equality decisions, prompted Todd to write a Facebook post over the weekend threatening to name those self-described conservative colleagues of hers who oppose marriage equality but carry on extra-marital affairs themselves.
On All In With Chris Hayes Tuesday, Todd seemed to imply that she won't be naming names any time soon, but that her justification for threatening to do so remains unchanged.
"I just wanna remind [politicians who oppose marriage equality], they don’t have the corner on family values," Todd told Hayes. "There are thousands of gay couples across the state, many raising children, who have much stronger family values than they do. It’s an attempt to try to cool the rhetoric. If you want to talk to me of the merits of the issue then that’s fine. But I’m not going to let you get away with a five-second sound bite where you condemn me and my community."
Aside from the state's attorney general, governor, and Speaker of the House (all of whom are Republicans), another prominent official had harsh words about the possibility of marriage equality coming to Alabama — state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore penned a scathing three-page letter Tuesday, rife with Biblical references, urging the governor to ignore the pair of federal rulings, calling them "judicial tyranny."
Todd and Hayes also took a moment to address the unusual public comment by a sitting justice on a case that may come before him. Hayes seemed incredulous that Moore is once again the chief justice of Alabama's highest court, after Moore was removed from the same post in 2003 after he refused to remove a statue of the 10 Commandments from the courthouse he presided over — even after a federal court ruled that the monument amounted to an unlawful establishment of religion by a governmental body.
But Representative Todd has a theory about how and why voters returned Moore to the state's top judicial seat in 2012:
"In Alabama you can go into the voting booth and vote straight party," said Todd. "So the Republicans had, obviously, many people went in and just pulled that 'R' lever, and he got elected. But I've talked to many Republicans who would not have voted for him, but he got elected due to that fact."
The progressive Southern Poverty Law Center has filed an ethics complaint against Moore, claiming that the judge is "once again wrapping himself in the Bible and thumbing his nose at the federal courts and federal law." The complaint alleges that Moore is promoting lawlessness by encouraging elected officials to ignore federal court rulings and is in violation of his duties by commenting publicly on pending cases that may well come before him or other justices on his court, reports theThe New Civil Rights Movement.
Watch Todd's appearance on MSNBC below.