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How Long Could Roy Moore Prolong Debate Over Marriage Equality?

How Long Could Roy Moore Prolong Debate Over Marriage Equality?


Eventually, marriage equality will come to every state in the country. But how long will homophobic stalling tactics delay it?

It's no secret that Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is going to lose his absurd fight to stop marriage in Alabama. We've been down this road before: In 2003, when he insisted that he had the authority to impose religion in his court, he was removed from office.

But then voters reelected him in 2012, and now he's once again making claims that don't quite have any actual basis in law. His latest fantasy is that state judges don't need to obey rulings from federal courts.

Federal officials, needless to say, are unimpressed by Moore's noise. In an interview with Buzzfeed, President Obama observed that Moore had already lost his job over a similar stance and predicted that federal courts would probably intervene once again to remind Moore how the law works.

(RELATED: Could Alabama's Marriage Equality Rebellion Spread to Other States?)

Very few officials are willing to join Moore in his crusade, in part because the Constitution makes it clear via the Supremacy Clause that federal courts trump state courts. At this point, very few judges are still refusing to issue licenses. If they continue to do so, they may be charged with contempt of court, which is punishable by a fine or jail time.

But Moore may have additional surprises up his sleeve. So far, he's proven adept at making up novel legal theories, and it's possible that he may have more stalling tactics in the wings.

Even if he does, though, he's unlikely to put off marriage for more than a few days. His stalling tactic in Alabama was only able to sow confusion for about a week before an additional ruling clarified the duties of the state judges.

(RELATED: What The Alabama Fight Has in Common With Civil Rights Movement)

In an interview Sunday, Moore told Fox News that he would defy the U.S. Supreme Court if it overturned marriage bans. Given the authority of the Supreme Court, he would likely have even fewer allies if he tried to disregard that ruling.

In fact, at this point, Moore's most powerful ally may actually be the Ku Klux Klan. Last week, the United Dixie White Knights issued a statement in support of Moore, writing, "The Mississippi Klan salutes Alabama's chief justice Roy Moore, for refusing to bow to the yoke of Federal tyranny. The Feds have no authority over individual States marriage laws. The fudgepackers from Hollywood and all major news networks are in shock that the good people from the heart of Dixie are resisting their Imperialist, Communist Homosexual agenda!"

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Matt Baume