In January, U.S. District Judge Callie Granade struck down Alabama’s gay-marriage ban, paving the way for the state to begin overseeing weddings on Monday. But, as of Tuesday, same-sex couples were only able to wed in a few places in Alabama, including the cities of Birmingham and Montgomery. Who’s to blame for the holdup everywhere else? Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is quite sure that marriage equality will lead to incest and polygamy.
On Sunday night, Moore ordered Alabama’s probate judges to refuse to marry gay couples, despite Granade’s decision and the United States Supreme Court’s refusal to delay its enforcement. As a result, 50 of Alabama’s 67 counties are still only issuing marriage licenses to straight people. Meanwhile, Moore is certain that he’s doing the right thing. When asked if he was worried that his actions would put him “on the wrong side of history,” Moore told Good Morning America, “Absolutely not. Do they stop with one man and one man or one woman and one woman? Or do they go to multiple marriages? Or do they go to marriages between men and their daughters or women and their sons?”
This isn’t the first time that Moore has done something like this: In 2003, while also in the position of chief justice, he had a 5,000-pound granite list of the Ten Commandments installed in Montgomery’s Alabama Judicial System Building. Civil-liberties groups argued that the piece violated the separation of church and state, and a number of them sued to have it removed. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit sided against Moore, saying that his position was similar to those “taken by those southern governors who attempted to defy federal court orders during an earlier era,” such as George “Segregation Now, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever” Wallace.
Moore refused to remove the Ten Commandments and lost his job, only to be reelected to the role in 2012. And that brings us to Alabama’s current gay marriage mess. In an interview with the New York Times, he insisted that, “If we accept this without contest, without standing up for what’s pure and simple constitutional law, then we, too, bow down to unlawful authority. And that’s not the role of government leaders in the state.” Lawyers arguing that the authority of Granade, a federal judge, clearly trumps Moore’s are now trying to get Granade to issue a court order demanding that the probate judges abide by her ruling.