Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Ten Commandments Judge Enters the Marriage Fray

(Link) Remember the Alambama judge who brought the religious loonies out of hiding with his demands that a huge monument featuring the Christian Top Ten is a-okay as courthouse decor? He's back and rallying the faithful against same-sex marriage. Yeehaw.

1 comment:

LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:
Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Former Chief Justice Roy Moore is not just asking for votes in his race for governor in the Republican primary June 6. Alabama's Ten Commandments judge is also calling on voters to cast ballots that day in support of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages.

At a news conference Tuesday, Moore joined 16 ministers from across the state to urge a strong turnout on the issue - which is expected to pass easily and could be a factor as he challenges GOP Gov. Bob Riley in the primary.

"Christians across the state have an obligation to turn out on something as important as this," Moore said.

The outcome of the statewide referendum on same-sex mairriages is hardly in doubt - voters in Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky and Arkansas approved similar bans in 2004, and this Bible Belt state is overwhelmingly expect to do the same. But a political scientist said that even though Riley also supports the ban, a big turnout might help Moore a little in their primary battle.

"The most fervent anti-gay marriage voters are his voters," said David Lanoue, chairman of the political science department at the University of Alabama.

The 16 ministers at the news conference are helping organize the Alabama Coalition Against Same Sex Marriage, and Moore agreed to serve as their honorary chairman.

Moore said his main role will be to encourage Alabamians to vote. "I think it will produce one of the largest turnouts we've ever seen in Alabama," he said.

Traditionally, the voter turnout for the primary election in Alabama is much smaller than the general election. In 2002, 35 percent of the registered voters participated in the primary and 58 percent in the general election.

Moore is making his first race for public office since a state judicial court kicked him out of the chief justice's job in 2003 for refusing to abide by a court order to remove his Ten Commandments monument from display in the state judicial building. Riley supported Moore's display until the chief justice refused to obey the court order, and now they have become political rivals in a classic contest between the Republican Party's two factions: religious conservatives and the business community.

Riley has maintained strong ties to the business community throughout his term and, Lanoue said, he has worked recently to strengthen his ties to religious conservatives. "They are not just Roy Moore's for the asking," the political scientist said.

Voters in both the Republican and Democratic primaries on June 6 will get to vote on the proposed constitutional amendment.

One of the ministers attending the news conference with Moore, the Rev. Paul Hubbard, pastor of Lakeview Baptist Church in Montgomery, said he expects the impact of a bigger turnout to be spread out.

"This is a moral issue. There are just as many Democrats for it as Republicans," he said.

Equality Alabama, the state's largest gay rights organization, will encourage Alabamians to vote no on the constitutional amendment, but the organization doesn't have the money to wage a big media campaign, board Chairman Howard Bayless said Tuesday.

Equality Alabama argues that the constitutional amendment would enshrine hatred in the state's constitution much like the segregationist language that remains in Alabama's organic law, even though it is no longer enforceable.

"I hope our people will say we've had hate in the past, and let's not do this anymore," he said.

Despite the opposition from Equality Alabama, supporters say the only unknown about the June 6 referendum is the size of the margin of victory.

"It will be overwhelmingly in favor of the ban - at least 80 percent or more," House Speaker Seth Hammett, D-Andalusia, predicted Tuesday.