Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Here in Alabama, there’s been very good news, and there’s been very bad news, on the front of gay liberation and the struggle against anti-queer bigotry.

Chief Justice Roy Moore

The State carries the power of the sword… It must use that power to prevent the subversion of children toward this lifestyle —Roy Moore, Chief Justice, Alabama Supreme Court

First the bad news. In a recent Alabama state Supreme Court decision, the court ruled unanimously to deny custody of three children to their mother, who alleged that the father was physically abusing them. The majority of the opinion of the court stated that higher courts had impermissibly reweighed evidence already considered in the lower court on the question of abuse, and thus the mother had not sufficiently met the burden of proving that the children were at risk of abuse. I disagree with this opinion, given what I know about family violence, but this was merely an issue of how much evidence had been produced.

With that majority opinion going on the books, Good Ol’ Roy Moore, the Chief Jackass of the Alabama Supreme Court, decided that he had to go out of his way to write a concurring opinion. You see, the mother is now living in a lesbian relationship in southern California. And ol’ Roy Moore (perhaps better known as The Ten Commandments Judge) just couldn’t pass up such a ripe opportunity to use his bully pulpit to screech virulent hatred against Alabama’s queer citizens.

Homosexual behavior, Moore opines, is a ground for divorce, an act of sexual misconduct punishable as a crime in Alabama, a crime against nature, an inherent evil, and an act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it.

Oh, but it only gets better. Moore continues:

photo: Roy Moore

Chief Justice Roy Moore

The Lord is my Camouflage

Führer-in-Waiting (Ralph Reed) Acrylic on paper, 24” x 21.25”. ©1997 Lilith Adler.

The State carries the power of the sword, that is, the power to prohibit conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution. It must use that power to prevent the subversion of children toward this lifestyle, to not encourage a criminal lifestyle. (p. 36 of decision, emphasis added)

Take a moment and read back over that. The Chief Justice of my state’s Supreme Court just argued that the State is fully within its legal and moral prerogatives to imprison and execute queer people in order to "protect" children from their evil influences. Thank God Moore was not writing for the majority of the Court — if this bullshit had the weight of legal precedent in Alabama, we might see the pink triangle marks and the concentration camps coming around the corner any day now.

Of course, Moore’s outrageous remarks have not gone unchallenged. State Representative Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery) has requested an investigation of Moore by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry for violations of three parts of Provision 2 of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics [Montgomery Advertiser], calling on Moore to resign and confronting him with the possibility of being removed from office. Equality Begins at Home Alabama has also called for Moore’s resignation and is sponsoring events responding to the hateful decision.

In spite of all of this, there is good news. It may seem very small, and yet I believe that it’s more important than anything that ignorant asshole Roy Moore ever said in his life. According to the Opelika-Auburn News, 17 year old Allen Jeffers will be attending his Opelika High School senior prom with his boyfriend, the first time there has ever been a same-sex date included in the OHS prom.

No matter how small it may seem in comparison to the sturm und drang of state judicial politics, it is exactly this kind of everyday, local victory for acceptance and welcoming of queer people into our community that we ultimately need to win against the bigoted demagogues such as Roy Moore. I remember graduating from Auburn High School, just across town from OHS, just three years ago, and this just would have been completely unimaginable. Just being openly gay in the face of the whole school would have been completely unimaginable. Thank God for Allen Jeffers’ courage and the slow, hard work of making the queer community visible and, eventually, overcoming bigotry and creating a welcoming community in Alabama. I firmly believe that if we can keep up this work, bigots like Roy Moore haven’t got a prayer.

Take action! For more on actions being taken against Chief Justice Moore’s bigotry, check out Equality Begins at Home’s pages on what is happening now and what you can do to help. If you are in the Auburn area, Auburn Gay and Lesbian Association meets every Monday at 7:30pm to work for a supportive community for queer people in Auburn-Opelika, and to defend queer people from anti-gay discrimination and violence. Human Rights Watch also has a good page on what you can do to build safe, supportive schools for queer youth.

For further reading:

  • GT 8/03/2001 Anti-Queer Terrorism in Our Schools
  • GT 8/11/2001 Gay Rights Activists Get the Grassroots Religion
  • GT 8/07/2001 Religious Right Wants to Write Homophobia into U.S. Constitution
  • GT 5/05/2001 Religious Right Attacks Queer Students’ Safety in Washington Schools
  • GT 4/18/2001 Homophobic State Representative Tells All to Gay Activists in Florida
  • GT 4/11/2001 World’s First Queer Marriages Celebrated in Netherlands
  • Geekery Today documents anti-queer terrorism in Hawaii, Pennsylvania, and Nashville

Update 2005-05-15: Minor changes for style.

8 replies to Two Steps Forward, One Step Back Use a feed to Follow replies to this article

  1. Matt

    Being gay is wrong and stop putting down christianity like its bad. its wrong what you are doing.

  2. Charles W. Johnson

    Matt,

    I have no intention of putting down Christianity. I have no particular problems with Christianity. What I do intend to put down is zealots like Roy Moore and Ralph Reed, who pervert and abuse the Christian religion in the service of their reactionary, power-mongering politics. They, not I, are the ones who are insulting Christian faith.

    As for whether being gay is wrong - not surprisingly I disagree with you. In fact, I find the contention that peacefully loving people of the same sex could be wrong to be absolutely bizarre. However, regardless of whether you think it is wrong or right, I hope you realize that Roy Moore did not just say that homosexuality is wrong. What he said is that the government has the legal and moral right to imprison and kill gay people. We’re not talking social disapproval here, we’re talking Auschwitz and Dachau. I hope you can realize that Roy Moore’s twisted vision is dead wrong and needs to be openly and firmly rejected.

  3. Mattias

    As I understand it, the Bible doesn’t actually condemn homosexuality, rather a specific form of homosexual act between men. That position is also bigoted in my view, but it isn’t the same as condemning “being gay”, as many Christians make it.

    The second comment is that there are other sins that are equally condemned in the “good book”, such as lying or working during the sabbath, but most Christians seem to think nothing about those sins.

    And I keep being amazed about Christians who forget Matt 7:1-4:

    “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.

    For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.

    Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

    Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?”

    I think I might look up some of these things a bit further but those are things to ponder.

· April 2002 ·

  1. Allen Jeffers

    Hi, I just wanted to thank who ever put this page on the net. i really appreciate it, I have had a few problems from people at school, but nothing major, yet. I can’t talk long because the bell is about to ring for school to let out, but i just wanted to thank you for your support that is very much needed at this time….

    Allen Jeffers

— 2003 —

  1. Discussed at www.radgeek.com

    Geekery Today:

    Hallelujah, and Amen

    At the time I am writing this, Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court has been in

  2. Discussed at www.radgeek.com

    Geekery Today:

    Glad Tidings, and More on Moore

    Today was the day that we get our shot at ditching Roy Moore (Ala. Judge, Judicial Ethics Panel Meet

— 2004 —

  1. Discussed at www.radgeek.com

    Geekery Today:

    There’s Hope for Alabama Yet

    A Vote.com poll on whether Chief Justice Roy Moore should be removed from the bench recently closed, with mixed results. The bad news: the results favored Moore by a margin of 10 points. The far better news: Alabama voters called for Moore’s r…

— 2006 —

  1. Amy

    Wow….this Roy Moore guy makes me glad I’m Canadian…. here in Ontario I live in an intentional community comprised of six Christian households…and half of us are queer. I even belong to a Queer Baptist Potluck Group of people from Toronto and surrounding parts of southern Ontario. Good luck with your equality efforts! - Amy in Toronto.

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