While Alabama’s top judge is still calling for state officials to defy a marriage equality ruling, the governor says he’ll do nothing of the sort.
“We are a nation under laws,” Gov. Robert Bentley told Politico in a Friday interview. “We may not always agree with them, but we obey them.” He would “never do anything to disobey a federal court ruling,” he said.
U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade’s January ruling striking down Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage took effect February 9, but officials in some counties resisted issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She issued a clarifying order February 12 instructing a probate judge (the official in charge of marriage licenses in Alabama) in Mobile to grant the licenses — an order that prompted a majority of counties statewide to begin marrying same-sex couples.
The prime source of resistance to marriage equality is Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. The night before Granade’s ruling took effect, the archconservative jurist told probate judges they did not have to obey it. And he’s continuing to claim that federal courts have no power over state marriage laws and that probate judges don’t have to follow Granade’s order because they were not named in the lawsuit in which she ruled.
“You have one federal judge who is reaching out and trying to bind the whole state. It is improper,” Moore told the Associated Press in a recent interview.
Moore, who has previously said same-sex marriage will destroy the nation, just keeps making bizarre and clueless statements about LGBT people. “You’re taking any definition of a family away,” he said in the AP interview. “When two bisexuals or two transgendered marry, how large is that family? Can they marry two persons, one of the same sex and one of the opposite sex? Then, you’ve got a family of four or how many?”
The right-wing Christian judge also said that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality would be among the court’s greatest mistakes, up there with rulings endorsing slavery, segregation, and abortion rights. He did grant that Alabama would have to obey a ruling from the nation’s highest court, but “that doesn’t make the Supreme Court right in making such a decision.” The court will take up a marriage equality case this spring.
Moore has tangled with the federal courts before. He was removed as Alabama’s chief justice in 2003 for disobeying a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building, the court having ruled that the monument was an unconstitutional establishment of religion. Voters returned him to the chief justice office in 2012.
The Human Rights Campaign has gathered 30,000 signatures on a petition calling for an investigation into Moore’s antigay rhetoric and odd legal opinions. Get a sample of his rhetoric in the AP video below.