Alabama Chief Justice’s religion blinds him to the law

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore today ordered all probate judges to refuse same-sex couples a marriage license.

FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor called Moore a "sore loser": "The Supreme Court has spoken: LGBT citizens in Alabama and every state have a constitutional — and a human — right to equal marriage."

Last January, Moore wrote Gov. Bentley erroneously claiming that the state was not bound by federal court decisions on marriage. Moore issued an order to probate judges on Feb. 8 that, like today's order, prohibited probate judges from issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Moore's new four-page order alleges "confusion and uncertainty exist among the probate judges of this state as to the effect of Obergefell."

"What Moore fails to mention" said Gaylor, "is that he caused much of this confusion by ordering his subordinates to violate a Supreme Court ruling and the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution. His religion has blinded him to his constitutional duty."

Gaylor added: "Every day that consenting, loving couples are delayed their marriage licenses is a violation of their basic human rights in the name of Moore's tyrannical god. It's time for Alabama once again to rid itself of Moore's theocratic influence. "

(Moore was removed from office as chief justice in November 2003 by Alabama's judicial ethnics panel, for defying a federal judge's order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state Supreme Court building. Moore was reelected as chief justice in 2012.)

At least one probate judge, Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed, has refused to follow Moore's order, writing on social media: "Judge Moore's latest charade is just sad & pathetic. My office will ignore him & this [order]."

FFRF has a long history of challenging Moore's theocratic actions. The first lawsuit against Moore for uniting religion and the judiciary was taken by FFRF's state chapter, the Alabama Freethought Association, on March 31, 1995, when Moore was an Etowah County judge. He had instructed juries to pray and displayed the Ten Commandments in his courtroom. You can read the full story, as told by lead counsel Joel Sogol, here.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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