Showing posts with label Alabama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alabama. Show all posts

June 6, 2019

Alabama Mayor Calls For Killing Gay People

Carbon Hill Mayor Mark ChambersImage copyright

Image captionMayor Mark Chambers called for the killing of LGBT people

The mayor of an Alabama town reportedly called for "killing out" gay people in a since-deleted Facebook comment. 
Mark Chambers lumped "homosexuals" and "transvestites" together with "baby killers" and "socialists" in the post, according to TV station WBRC. 
The Carbon Hill mayor reportedly maintained his words had been taken out of context, before apologizing. 
A gay rights group has demanded his resignation. The mayor could not immediately be reached for comment. 
According to WBRC, Mr. Chambers posted on Facebook a graphic that read all in capital letters: "We live in a society where homosexuals lecture us on morals, transvestites lecture us on human biology, baby killers lecture us on human rights and socialists lecture us on economics!" 
The mayor reportedly commented on the post: "The only way to change it would be to kill the problem out. I know it's bad to say but without [sic] killing them out there's no way to fix it."
The comment prompted calls for the mayor to step down, including from the Alabama branch of the Human Rights Campaign. 
The group called Mr. Chambers' comments "horrifying, unconscionable and unacceptable". 
"LGBTQ people face disproportionate levels of violence and harassment in their daily lives - a fact that is especially true in Alabama. Mayor Chambers must be held to account." 
Mr. Chambers has given no signal that he will step down as mayor of Carbon Hill, a town of fewer than 2,000 people, 150 miles (240km) north of the state capital, Montgomery. 
When WBRC contacted Mr. Chambers, he initially denied writing the comment, according to the Birmingham, Alabama-based news station. 
But in a subsequent call, he reportedly told WBRC he had made the comment public by mistake and intended to send it privately to a friend. 
During his phone call with the TV station, Mr. Chambers also reportedly mentioned immigrants in the US, calling them "ungrateful" and arguing they were taking over the country. 
US media report that Mr. Chambers posted an apology to his Facebook page, writing: "Although I believe my comment was taken out of context and was not targeting the LGBTQ community, I know that it was wrong to say anyone should be killed [sic]."
Mr. Chambers has been mayor of Carbon Hill since 2014. 
According to the town website, he ran for office because Carbon Hill "was not going in a positive direction".

April 24, 2019

This 15 Yr Old Alabama Kid Comes Out But The Bully Drives Him to Suicicide

                                    Image result for nigel shelby


A gay teen from Huntsville, Alabama, has died by suicide after enduring anti-gay bullying.
Nigel Shelby, a 15-year-old freshman at Huntsville High School, was bullied at school by classmates because of his sexuality. He reportedly died last week. 
Tennessee Valley Rocket City Pride, a local LGBTQ advocacy group, shared the news of Shelby’s death on Facebook with links to resources for queer youth in the region. “There are no words that can be said to make sense of this devastating news,” the group wrote.
Students at nearby Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (AAMU) held a candelight vigil for Shelby this past Sunday, April 21.

Rocket City Pride also addressed the topic of anti-gay harassment Sunday at its Easter Drag Brunch. According to Rocket City Now, Caila Malone, a local drag performer, recalled “being called terrible words even when I was in elementary school before I knew what they meant.”
“These bullies have to be held accountable,” Malone added at the brunch, “and until our state legislation shows that they have to do that, they’re able to run amuck and do whatever they want.”
Community members have launched a GoFundMe page to support Shelby’s mother in the wake of his death.
Suicide and other mental health issues disproportionately affect LGBTQ youth in America. If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, please contact The Trevor Project, a nonprofit dedicated to suicide prevention, at 1-866-488-7386. Visit The Trevor Project’s website for more information and resources.
Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.

December 12, 2017

AL Moore Voters Thought as 'Scandalous' For an LGBT Float to Ride Down The Street

Alabamans will decide today whether to elect Republican candidate Roy Moore to the Senate. The conservative, who is currently battling sexual assault accusations from multiple women, has been an outspoken opponent of LGBTQ rights.

In 2016, Moore was suspended from his position as Alabama chief justice for telling probate judges to defy federal orders regarding same-sex marriage. He has also opposed transgender rights.

“There’s no right to believe you are a person of the opposite sex or opposite gender,” Moore said at a community center in Henagar, Alabama, in November.

His campaign has some LGBTQ advocates in the state concerned but not deterred.
“There’s no sin in sexuality,” said Megan Henry, an LGBTQ ally who has lived in Alabama for 20 years. “That’s an argument down here, and that also goes along with what’s happening in our political climate with Roy Moore.”

Henry, 39, is a board member with Pride on the Plains, an LGBTQ group in Opelika, Alabama. Still, in its inaugural year, the group applied in October to sponsor a gay pride-themed float in the town’s annual Christmas parade. It would be the first float of its kind in the parade’s-20 year history.

Soon after the group announced it would sponsor the float, a firestorm erupted on social media, according to Henry. Some residents, she explained, were unhappy the float would be included in the family-friendly event because it would feature a drag queen.

“It’s terrifying,” she said. “The same people who are upset with what we’re doing are the same people that are going to vote Roy Moore to the Senate.”

The Opelika Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit group that organized the parade, received multiple angry phone calls from residents over the float.

“We got folks that thought they shouldn’t have an entry in our parade because it is a Christmas parade, and they did not personally agree with that,” said chamber president Pam Powers-Smith. She said she informed the callers that the chamber does not discriminate against any group.

From left above, Drew Garbe, Ethan Burt (board member in Black shirt), Seth McCollough ( treasurer in redshirt), Timothy Peacock (board member), Bryant Stokes (vocalist), Katie Denney (vocalist), Megan Henry (board member), Aaron Spraggins (board member in green shirt), Chad Peacock (president), Addison Vontrell/Drew Fitch Miss Pride on the Plains. This pic represents the board members and talent that attended the Opelika Christmas parade. Courtesy Pride On The Plains 
For Michael Thomason, who lives and grew up in the neighboring town of Auburn, it was a welcoming sight. The 60-year-old said he never imagined he would march in a Christmas parade as an out gay man.

“I actually teared up two or three times, because never in my life did I think I could actually walk in a parade and wave a rainbow flag and everybody knowing that I’m gay,” Thomason told NBC News. “It was just a wonderful feeling, and I really was actually shocked at how it hit me.

Thomason had his reservations about marching that day. He was aware some locals had been posting negative comments on social media. But the crowd, to his surprise, was mostly cheerful.

“The only person that stood out to me was this one woman,” he recalled. “Once she saw us and realized we were a gay organization, she turned her back to us.”

As Thomason walked along the parade route in a leopard-print Santa Claus hat, he greeted parade-goers with “Merry Christmas.” Most people, he recalled, said it right back. He noticed a man and a woman standing on a balcony. As the float passed underneath, the couple unraveled a rainbow flag. At that moment, Thomason recalled, the crowd erupted in applause.

“Just a recognition and acceptance from the people is what really what made me feel really good,” he said.


Thomason said Auburn has become more accepting of its LGBTQ neighbors over the years. When he was a teenager, people knew he was gay, he said, but he couldn’t talk about it. He said he had to drive hours away to Montgomery or Atlanta to find a gay bar. Now, Auburn has a gay bar of its own.

Despite some progress, Thomason has his concerns.

“I’ve never really been scared until recently,” he said, citing the 2016 election of President Donald Trump and Moore’s race for the Senate.

“I thought we were on a really good trajectory, but every now and then it makes me take pause and stand back and think, ‘Well, have we really accomplished anything?’” Thomason added. 

"They want to let businesses put signs that say ‘We don’t serve gays.’ That carries you back to the ‘60s where [businesses had signs that said] ‘We don’t serve colored folks,’ you know? It’s just mind-boggling seeing it, but I never thought we’d get this way again.”


Henry started getting nervous in the days leading up to the parade. She said, “there were some really hateful things on social media.” Some residents, she said, were acting like the pride float was more than just a float. “It seemed to be a symbol for change that some Alabamans weren’t ready to accept,” she said.

“When I got in that truck, I did have some trepidation,” Henry recalled. But as the rainbow-emblemed float wound its way throughout the old railroad town, spectators greeted it with applause and cheers of “Merry Christmas,” she said. Then, as the procession made its way over a hill, she spotted a couple unraveling a rainbow flag from the balcony of a two-story wrought iron building. It was the same flag Thomason had seen.

“It felt like everything!” Henry said. “Oh, it was like the moment. Everybody in the community that came to the parade was there spreading love and everyone cheered and no one booed, and it was beautiful.”

At one point, she said, the parade passed a local courthouse, where Lee County Probate Judge Bill English refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples in 2015. He was following orders from Moore, the then-Alabama Supreme Court Justice.

“When we went past his office, it felt pretty good," Henry said.


Alabama is one of 28 states that does not have laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and is one of 32 states that does not protect against discrimination on the basis of gender identity or presentation. White evangelical Christians — many of whom oppose same-sex marriage — are a dominant political force in the red state.

The cities of Opelika and Auburn, located in Lee County, revolve around the University of Auburn, where Apple CEO and openly gay businessman Tim Cook graduated in 1982. Henry said the area is a stepping stone toward LGBTQ equality in Alabama.

“We’re more progressive than the rest of the state,” she explained.

Despite its progressiveness, Auburn scores four points out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index. The index measures municipalities on “their non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and the city leadership's public position on equality.”

But the town is making strides, according to Henry. City officials, including the mayors of both Opelika and Auburn, she said, are working with Pride on the Plains. The real challenge isn’t political, Henry insisted: It’s cultural.

“The more literally out physically we are in participating in community events, people are going to realize, ‘Wow, this is your music teacher, this is your banker, this is just your friend, your daughter,’ and hopefully we can just change hearts and minds.”

Henry said the LGBTQ community also faces “a lot of religious ideology,” which she said plays a “huge part in politics in the South.” She said she will vote for Moore’s opponent, Doug Jones, on Tuesday.

In a statement on his campaign website, Jones said he “will work for the betterment of all of the people of Alabama without regard for partisan politics.” The site mentions civil rights as one of Jones' priorities, though it does not specify LGBTQ rights. But in a YouTube video, the Democrat can be heard speaking against the Trump Administration’s controversial ban on transgender soldiers in the military.

Henry said she isn’t sure if Jones will be a vanguard on LGBTQ rights, but she thinks he will be “100 percent” better than Moore on the issue.

“I don’t think he’s going to take us backward,” Henry said. “Roy Moore will take our country backward if he can.”

Moore has, after all, insisted "homosexual conduct should be illegal" on more than one occasion — and as recently as 2015.

The Log Cabin Republicans, a conservative group that advocates for LGBTQ rights, released an advertisement on December 1 urging Christians not to vote for the Republican.

“This election is about more than 'LGBT issues' — this is about a man who, even prior to the allegations of sexual assault, waged and will continue to wage an all-out war on the humanity of LGBT Americans,” Log Cabin Republican president Gregory T. Angelo said in an email to NBC News. “Roy Moore has made a career of it in Alabama, and if he is elected he will take his bigotry national.”


Drew Garbe, a 22-year-old transgender man who participated in the parade, grew up in Opelika. He said Alabama has been slow to embrace progress.

“There are a lot of things that are different from 30 years ago,” he said, “but the one thing that isn’t different is how LGBT people get treated.”

Garbe, who starred as the float’s drag king, said he had concerns after seeing negative comments on social media.

“But once we got there and we got rolling, and people started clapping for us and standing up cheering for us, I mean, I almost cried, and I don’t cry,” he said. “People stood up, and they were clapping and yelling for us, and somebody even dropped a gay pride flag from their balcony for us, and the fact that he even took the time to do that is astounding.”

Garbe said the float brought visibility to his corner of Alabama. “I’m hoping this brings more inclusivity and people realize they’re not so different from us,” he said. 

A manager at a local movie theater, Garbe came out as transgender his freshman year of college and began his medical transition in 2016. It scared him, he said, because so many people in Opelika know him. It’s not uncommon to run into old acquaintances at the gas station or the grocery store, he said.

“People have been pretty accepting of the fact that I’m trans,” he said. “A lot of people actually, they ask me a lot of questions, which I don’t mind at all.”

Garbe said he will cast his vote for Jones on Tuesday. He is optimistic LGBTQ rights will prevail in the state regardless of who wins, he said, recalling the families who showed up to the parade.

Some of the kids, he remembered, were waving rainbow flags.

“The way the kids looked at us and smiled and cheered and everything for us,” Garbe said, “it just gives me hope for the future.”

NBC News reached out to the campaigns of Jones and Moore, but they could not be reached for comment.

by Julie Compton 

November 18, 2017

Moore Supported a Rabidly Hostility Towards LGBT and Its Advocates

 A smiling Roy Moore stood shoulder to shoulder with his fiercest religious allies.
Flanked by a sign for Moore’s Senate campaign, one supporter railed against the “LGBT mafia” and “homosexual gay terrorism.” Another warned that “homosexual sodomy” destroys those who participate in it and the nations that allow it. Still, another described same-sex marriage as “a mirage” because “it’s phony and fake.”
Thursday’s news conference was designed to send a powerful message to the political world that religious conservatives across America remain committed to Moore, a Christian conservative and former judge whose Alabama Senate campaign has been rocked by mounting allegations of sexual misconduct. The event also revealed an aggressive strain of homophobia rarely seen in mainstream politics — in recent years, at least.
In the days since religious liberals have stepped forward to express their opposition to Moore. An anti-Moore rally at a Birmingham church Saturday drew more than 100 people, some of whom carried signs decrying his opposition to gay rights.
But in a Senate campaign suddenly focused on Moore’s relationships with teenage girls decades ago, Moore’s hardline stance on gay rights and other LGBT issues has become little more than an afterthought for many voters as election day approaches. 
Moore first caught the attention of many in the LGBT community after describing homosexual conduct as “an inherent evil against which children must be protected” in a 2002 child custody case involving a lesbian mother. In a 2005 television interview, Moore said: “homosexual conduct should be illegal.” He also said there’s no difference between gay sex and sex with a cow, horse or dog.
Moore’s stand — combined with the fiery comments from his supporters — unnerved some in Birmingham’s relatively small LGBT community.
“It made me extremely angry,” said Mackenzie Gray, a 37-year-old who came out as transgender in 2010. She said most people in her life don’t know she was born a man. 
“My fear with the religious leaders and the hateful rhetoric we’re hearing is that it’s going to start escalating into something even larger,” Gray said. “It’s dangerous.”
The state has been slow to embrace gay rights: 81 percent of voters supported a ban on same-sex marriage in 2006. Only neighboring Mississippi, with 86 percent, scored higher.
Patricia Todd, the state’s first openly gay state representative, said she has faced at least four death threats in recent years. One woman called Todd’s cell phone and pledged to kill her and her family, she said, noting that local LGBT leaders meet quarterly at the FBI office in Birmingham to help identify potential hate crimes.
“It’s been brutal, but it’s gotten to the point where I just laugh at them,” Todd said.
In contrast to many conservative politicians with national ambitions, Moore has made little attempt to change his tone on LGBT issues as equal rights for the gay community has earned increasing acceptance among mainstream America.
By Steve Peoples

October 5, 2017

Alabama's Candidate For Senate Roger Moore is So Crazy } Would People Elect Him?

 He posted the 10 commandmeents in the courtroom and upon refusal was suspended

The Facebook page belonging to Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for US Senate in Alabama, in February included a shared image of a group of black men standing on a destroyed police car during the 2015 Baltimore riots.

Overlaying the image was text that read, "Want to stop riots? Play the National Anthem. They'll all sit down."

The post -- originally shared by Moore's wife with the caption "I doubt it with these people-but worth a try?" -- is one of many inflammatory posts shared on the Republican nominee's Facebook, which is now used to promote his Senate campaign. Moore is facing Democrat Doug Jones in a special election set for December 12.

The page has been active since Moore's failed run for governor of Alabama in 2010 and was used for his exploratory committee for president and campaign for Alabama chief justice. From 2014 until his current Senate race, the page was used to promote Moore's speaking and media appearances.

In September of 2016, Moore's page shared another post aimed at NFL players who kneeled during the National Anthem to protest police brutality against the black community. The post featured an image of military coffins draped in the American flag. Underneath the image read, "would the suppressed millionaire, NFL quarterback who would not stand for the National Anthem please point out which out these guys are black so we can remove the offensive flag."

Moore's Facebook page also shared an article from the religious conservative website in July 2015 with the headline, "Conservative Russians Give Moral Lesson to Facebook's Homosexual Propaganda." The article highlighted efforts by some Russians to counter a feature on Facebook that allowed users to overlay a rainbow over their profile picture.

"The strongest reaction came from conservative Russians who overlaid an image of the colors of their country's flag — white, blue and red — over their profile picture," the article read, adding that users also "countered the homosexual #LoveWins hashtag with #pridetobestraight and #pridetoberussian."

The article also described Russia's efforts to crack down on the LGBT community, including the country's so-called "gay propaganda law," as a "strong stance in defense of traditional family values."
Moore's Facebook page also shared a video that falsely alleged former President Barack Obama was a Muslim and shared several posts critical of the LGBT community.

Moore campaign spokesman Brett Doster told CNN in an email statement that Moore "believes in the sanctity of marriage and in protecting our religious liberty. He also believes the flag should be honored in respect for the American men and women of all colors and races who have died defending it."


April 26, 2017

Faith Based Adoption Centers Can Refuse Gay/Lesb. Couples: AL

Alabama lawmakers on Tuesday gave final approval to a bill protecting faith-based adoption organizations that refuse to place children with gay parents, or other households, because of their religious beliefs.

The legislation would prohibit the state from refusing to license faith-based adoption groups that refuse placements because of their religious beliefs.
Proponents argued that the measure is needed to make sure adoption groups can operate without being forced to violate their religious beliefs, while critics, including the state's only openly gay lawmaker, called it blatant discrimination.

The Alabama House of Representatives voted 87-0 to go along with a Senate change to the bill. The legislation goes to Gov. Kay Ivey for her signature. The governor hasn't said whether she'll sign it.

"It's just making sure the faith-based child placing agencies aren't discriminated against due to their beliefs. It's not discriminating against anyone else," Rep. Rich Wingo, the Republican sponsor of the bill, said.

The bill's protections would apply only to private agencies that do not accept state or federal funds. Wingo said the bill would protect faith-based groups such as Agape and Baptist Children's Homes, which do adoption and foster care placements.

State Rep. Patricia Todd, the state's only openly gay lawmaker, said placements should be made on the best interest of the child and not on "some artificial demographic."

"We have too many kids in foster care who need adoption, many of them with special needs. Same-sex parents want to adopt and take care of those children," said Todd, D-Birmingham.

Related: My Experience With Second-Parent Adoption as a Same-Sex Couple

Todd said she voted to go along with a Senate change that said the protections wouldn't apply to agencies that accepted state funds

South Dakota, Michigan, North Dakota and Virginia have passed similar laws.

David Dinielli, deputy legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a Montgomery-based civil rights group, called the legislation "prejudice cloaked in religion."

"This law limits the number of homes available to Alabama's most vulnerable kids by allowing foster and adoption agencies to turn away parents who don't fit with the agencies' religious beliefs, including parents who are unmarried, divorced, Muslim, LGBT or even Christian," Dinielli said.


June 9, 2016

Federal Judge Stops Alabama from Blocking Gay Marriage

Alabama Superior Court Justice Roy Moore pauses before addressing his supporters outside
   Alabama Superior Court Chief Justice Roy Moore pauses before addressing his supporters outside the Alabama Judicial Building where a monument of the Ten Commandments was put in place by Moore and in which he has refused to take down, August 21, 2003 in Montgomery, Alabama.               (Photo: REUTERS/TAMI CHAPPELL)                                                                                                                                                                          By the way those Commandments were removed as per court order The justice was allowed to put them in his office.

A federal judge is permanently barring Alabama from enforcing state laws to block gay marriage.
U.S. District Judge Callie Granade of Mobile issued the order Tuesday in litigation that followed the U.S. Supreme Court decision that effectively legalized same-sex weddings nationwide.
The judge writes that the order is needed because state laws against same-sex marriage remain on the books. She says the Alabama Supreme Court's willingness to issue decisions conflicting with the U.S. Supreme Court demonstrate the need for permanent action.
Judge Granade notes that though same-sex opponent Roy Moore is currently suspended from the office of chief justice, other state justices have indicated they believe laws banning gay marriages were constitutional.
Most counties already are issuing licenses to same-sex couples, so it’s unclear what impact the ruling will have but hopefully we have seen the end of Alabama judges to take the law into their own hands and ignored the Supreme Court of the United States. Someone down there is not living in this particular century.

Maybe the school children in Alabama instead of pledging alliance to the flag of the United States maybe they should pledge allegiance to the Constitution of the United States. Since they have shown an utter disregard for the constitution and our system of government a written document might have more meaning than what they might see as a cloth with colors on them.

May 7, 2016

Chief Judge Who Refused to Issue Same Sex Marriage Licenses Gets Suspended

Roy Moore responds to complaintsAlabama Chief Justice Roy Moore responds to complaints made in January by various groups protesting his administrative order explaining the legal status of the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Act and the Alabama Marriage Protection Act in Montgomery, Ala. (Julie Bennett/

An Alabama judicial oversight body on Friday filed a formal complaint against Roy S. Moore, the chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court, charging that he had “flagrantly disregarded and abused his authority” in ordering the state’s probate judges to refuse applications for marriage licenses by same-sex couples.

As a result of the charges, Chief Justice Moore, 69, has been immediately suspended from the bench and is facing a potential hearing before the state’s Court of the Judiciary, a panel of judges, lawyers and other appointees. Among possible outcomes at such a hearing would be his removal from office.

“We intend to fight this agenda vigorously and expect to prevail,” Chief Justice Moore said in a statement, saying that the Judicial Inquiry Commission, which filed the complaint, had no authority over the charges at issue.

Referring to a transgender activist in Alabama, Chief Justice Moore said the commission had “chosen to listen to people like Ambrosia Starling, a professed transvestite, and other gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals, as well as organizations which support their agenda.”

It is the second complaint lodged by the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission against the judge. In 2003, he was ousted by the same body from his position as chief justice after disobeying a federal court order to remove a two-ton monument of the Ten Commandments that he had installed in the rotunda of the state judicial building.

He was elected to that office again nine years later.

The current complaint concerns Chief Justice Moore’s actions after federal court decisions regarding same-sex marriage. Last spring, he directed probate judges in Alabama not to abide by a Federal District Court’s order striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, holding that issuing licenses to same-sex couples would violate the Alabama Constitution.

In January, six months after the United States Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex marriage was a constitutional right, Chief Justice Moore, in an administrative order, instructed the state’s probate judges that they had a “ministerial duty” to enforce the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Nearly all of the probate judges in the state have been issuing licenses to same-sex couples, though a few have stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether.

In his order, he argued that the Supreme Court’s decision applied only to the four states involved in the case that was before the court, and not to Alabama. That view runs counter to that of the federal district and appellate courts with jurisdiction over Alabama, and, according to the formal complaint, is “contrary to clear and determined law about which there is no confusion or unsettled question.”

The complaint lists six charges against Chief Justice Moore, and lays out several violations of the state’s canons of judicial ethics.

Richard Cohen, the president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which had filed a series of complaints to the commission, said Chief Justice Moore “has disgraced his office for far too long.”

“For the good of the state he should be kicked out of office,” he added.

Chief Justice Moore held a news conference last week at which he argued he was upholding the law as he interpreted it in his capacity as a judge.

“This is about legalism,” he said, wearing his judicial robe and speaking to reporters in the rotunda of the state judicial building. “There is nothing in writing that you will find that I told anybody to disobey a federal court order.”

On Friday, his lawyer, Mathew Staver, made a similar argument, insisting the matter at hand was one that could only be decided by the United States Supreme Court.

“The Judicial Inquiry Commission has no jurisdiction to resolve legal disputes,” he said, “and the complaint is solely focused on a legal dispute between federal and state courts.”

March 8, 2016

Alabama Wont Defy the Supreme Court On Same Sex Ruling


The Alabama Supreme Court refused Friday to defy the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, cutting off a conservative bid to prevent gay weddings in the state.
The court issued a one-sentence order dismissing a challenge by a probate judge and a conservative policy group that wanted the state to bar gay marriage despite the landmark federal decision.
In one of several written opinions accompanying the order, Justice Greg Shaw called the decision a “clear refusal” to ignore the Supreme Court ruling last June.
Several other state justices railed against the high court’s ruling while noting they can’t overturn it.
Chief Justice Roy Moore, a Christian conservative who has repeatedly spoken out against same-sex unions, wrote that previous state orders barring gay marriage in Alabama remain. Most probate judges already are ignoring that directive, however, and hundreds of same-sex couples already have wed in Alabama.
Eric Johnston, an attorney for the Alabama Policy Institute, which went to court seeking to prevent more gay marriages in Alabama, said the decision left opponents nowhere to turn in the court system.
“The order effectively ends the case,” he said in an email interview. “It appears to give us no option.”
Most Alabama counties have been issuing same-sex licenses for months. Randall Marshall, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, said that while some of Alabama’s 67 counties quit issuing marriage licenses completely, none was issuing licenses to straight couples while denying licenses to gay couples.
“I don’t think that we will see any change going forward,” he said by email.
While the court used only 11 words in its order, members of the all-Republican bench railed against the U.S. Supreme Court decision in multiple written opinions totaling 169 pages.
Quoting everything from past court rulings to the Bible and the 1974 song “Feelings,” the chief justice called the court’s ruling “immoral, unconstitutional and tyrannical.” He referred to homosexuality as a “disgrace to human nature” which can’t be compared to opposite-sex intimacy.
“Sodomy has never been and never will be an act by which a marriage can be consummated,” Moore wrote.
Justice Tom Parker said the decision in which the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for gay marriage nationally meant “the rule of law is dead.” Similarly, Justice Michael Bolin said the U.S. Supreme Court sided with advocates of same-sex marriage “without any constitutional basis,” yet added: “I do concede that its holding is binding authority on this court.”
Marshall, the ACLU attorney, said state probate judges could face federal court sanctions if they attempt to discriminate against same-sex couples now that the state Supreme Court has acted.
The justices’ writings revealed what seemed to be deep splits within the court.
Justices Bolin and James Main said it would be “erroneous and unjust” to attribute other judge’s opinions to them, and Shaw distanced himself from Moore’s arguments that he had a right to consider the case despite his past positions against same-sex unions.
“Whether any participation or vote by (Moore) violates the Canons of Judicial Ethics is an issue I do not address,” wrote Shaw.

February 10, 2015

The Supreme Court Show its Hand on Gay Marriage and it said Yes: Clarence Pissed Off

 Clarence and wife

The most prominent sign that the Supreme Court is poised to recognize a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry nationwide came Monday from an unlikely source: conservative Justice Clarence Thomas.
The court is months away from hearing arguments in a landmark caseabout whether states are free to ban such unions. But Thomas said a majority of the justices may have already made up their minds, as reflected by the court’s “indecorous” decision Monday morning allowing same-sex marriages to proceed in Alabama.
“This acquiescence may well be seen as a signal of the Court’s intended resolution of that question,” Thomas wrote in a dissent from the court’s order refusing to stay the weddings. “This is not the proper way to discharge our . . . responsibilities.”  
He was joined by one other justice, Antonin Scalia, in saying the court should agree to postpone the weddings until the justices hear the same-sex-marriage case in April and rule by the end of their term in June. Most of the momentum has come from federal court decisions finding state bans unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has been unwilling to put those decisions on hold and make same-sex couples wait to marry. As a result, nearly three in four Americans live in states where gay marriage is currently legal.
  As some judges in Alabama resisted the court’s action Monday, refusing to provide marriage licenses, there was fury on the right as well.
“A majority of the Supreme Court has cast disrepute on the impartiality of the Court by refusing to follow previous protocol and issue a stay of a lower court ruling while it is being considered by the Court,” said a statement from Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex unions.
The challengers to Alabama’s ban, for their part, said the court was right not to stay a decision last month by a federal court judge in Mobile that constitutional rights were being violated.
But there was recognition across the ideological spectrum that the Supreme Court’s moves, which have come mostly in unsigned and unexplained rulings on stay requests from various states, point only in one direction. 
“There’s little doubt that the Supreme Court’s order today irresponsibly declining to stay the federal-district court order against Alabama’s marriage laws signals that at least five justices have already made up their mind to concoct a constitutional right to marry a person of the same sex,” wrote Ed Whelan, a conservative commentator at the National Review Online.  
As a result of the court’s repeated decisions not to stay same-sex unions, thousands of marriages have taken place. Legal experts on both sides of the issue question whether the court would have allowed that to happen unless the justices believe that a majority of the court is willing to ultimately rule that states may not ban such unions.
Thomas said those factors should have given the majority pause. “The Court looks the other way as yet another Federal District Judge casts aside state laws without making any effort to preserve the status quo pending the Court’s resolution of a constitutional question it left open in United States v. Windsor,” he wrote, referring to the court’s 2013 decision striking down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
That decision did not provide an answer as to whether states may define marriage as between only a man and a woman. Thomas said the rights of states to forbid same-sex marriages should be respected for now.
“Today’s decision represents yet another example of this Court’s increasingly cavalier attitude toward the States,” Thomas wrote. He added, “I would have shown the people of Alabama the respect they deserve and preserved the status quo while the Court resolves this important constitutional question.”
As is its custom in deciding stay requests, the court did not give a reason for denying the stay. The decision should not be interpreted to mean there is a 7-to-2 split on the court in favor of same-sex marriage — or even on the question of Alabama’s request.
Some justices may have thought Alabama should receive a stay but did not join Thomas’s dissent. All that is clear from Monday’s action is that a majority of the nine justices turned down the request, and only Thomas and Scalia gave reasons for their actions. 
The lack of an explanation from the court about why it denied a stay and what that should mean on the ground in Alabama was frustrating to some.
“If the court is trying to signal how the marriage cases will come out, I am not sure whether sending signals is a bad thing,” said University of Chicago law professor William Baude. “But the signal would be a lot clearer if the court would just tell us why the justices are ruling this way.”
But it should not be surprising that clarification comes via the court’s most conservative members. Scalia had predicted that the reasoning used by the majority to strike down portions of the Defense of Marriage Act would later be used in support of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Less than two years later, dozens of federal judges have done just as Scalia predicted, and the ultimate decision is back at the Supreme Court’s door. 
Robert Barnes has been a Washington Post reporter and editor since 1987. He has covered the Supreme Court since November 2006.

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