Roy Moore, vocal opponent of LGBT rights, wins Alabama race

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
Comments: 0

Roy Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice who was removed from the bench for calling on the state to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court ruling for same-sex marriage, won the Republican primary against U.S. Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.), the interim senator appointed to replace Jeff Sessions upon his confirmation as attorney general, by a margin of 54.6-45.4.

Moore won by a substantial margin even though President Trump, who remains popular in Alabama, backed Strange and traveled to the state for a rally on behalf of the interim senator. Upon Moore’s win, Trump tweeted he spoke to the victor on election night for the first time and he “sounds like a really great guy who ran a fantastic race.”

Backing Moore in the race was the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage — both major anti-LGBT groups.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said in a statement Moore’s win demonstrates voters “want an end to business as usual” and action on broken promises after the election.

Referencing failures in the Senate to repeal Obamacare, restrict abortion and undo Dodd-Frank, Perkins said Moore “was elected because he is a promise keeper who will stand up for our Constitution.”

Moore’s views in opposition to LGBT rights are extreme even among conservative Republicans. At a time when social conservatives are seeking religious exemption to LGBT non-discrimination laws, Moore has made the case God’s law — or at least the way he sees it — should take precedent over all U.S. laws.

Upon the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality, Moore called the decision “an immoral, unconstitutional and tyrannical opinion” and instructed Alabama state judges to ignore federal rulings in favor of marriage equality.

Last year, Moore issued a directive saying despite the U.S Supreme Court’s decision for same-sex marriage, probate judges should still deny marriage licenses to gay couples because the Alabama Supreme Court never withheld its 2015 ruling upholding the state law against gay nuptials.

For encouraging state officials to defy federal courts, the Alabama judicial court suspended Moore for the remainder of his term from the Alabama Supreme Court, determining Moore “failed to uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary.” (It wasn’t the first time Moore was suspended from the bench. It happened in 2003 when he refused to remove a monument of the Ten Commandants from the Alabama Judicial Building.)

Moore hasn’t shied away from expressing anti-LGBT views during his Senate race, which he pursued after dropping his appeal of the Alabama judicial court ruling ousting him from the bench.

Bolstering anti-LGBT bonafides just last week was an unearthed recording from 2005 in which Moore said same-sex relationships, which were illegal in many states just two years earlier before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, should be criminalized.

“What I think is that it was illegal under the law, that the Supreme Court usurped the role of the legislature and ruled something about our moral law that is improper, and that’s what we’re finding the Supreme Court and the federal district courts are doing today,” Moore said at the time.

Kasey Suffredini, acting CEO of Freedom for All Americans, said in a statement Moore has demonstrated “not just a contempt for LGBTQ people, but a total contempt for the rule of law.”

“Moore is a mouthpiece for some of the ugliest and most dangerous forces working to undermine equality for LGBTQ Americans,” Suffredini said. “Regardless of what happens in November, his continued rise is a reminder that our public education work is more important now than ever before.”

Moore’s far-right views aren’t contained to LGBT people. Despite his views of the superiority of God’s law, Moore said stoked fears about Sharia law in the United States. Upon the election of Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim elected to Congress, Moore opined the lawmaker shouldn’t be allowed to take his seat because the Constitution is based on Christian principles.

Alabama sent two messages on LGBT rights on Tuesday. Although the Republicans nominated Moore for U.S. Senate, the City of Birmingham passed an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance by a unanimous 7-0 vote on its city council.

Alex Smith, executive director of Equality Alabama, said in a statement passage of the ordinance was a “monumental victory” for LGBT rights in the state.

“Before this ordinance was passed, you could get married on Saturday then on Monday be fired from your job, evicted from your home, or denied service because you’re LGBTQ,” Smith said. “No one should be discriminated against because of who they are or whom they love, and Birmingham took action today to ensure that.”

It’s technically not over for Moore, who now moves on to another special election on Dec. 12 against Democrat Doug Jones, a former U.S. prosecutor who gained notoriety by leading the government’s case against two perpetrators of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. Former Vice President Joseph Biden is set to campaign for Jones in Alabama.

But it’s hard to see how Jones can pull off a victory in a deeply “red” state like Alabama in a special election.

Eva Kendrick, the Human Rights Campaign’s Alabama state director, nonetheless urged Alabama voters to reject Moore in the next special election.

“Given Roy Moore’s track record of flouting laws and attacking the civil rights of LGBTQ people across our state, we already know he won’t stand up for all Alabamians when it matters most,” Kendrick said. “In the run up to December 12, we urge every fair-minded person across Alabama to say #NoMoore and reject the politics of bigotry and hate.”

Share this story: