Press

NGLTF Renews Call for Removal of Alabama Official

Date: 
February 22, 2002

Chief Justice Cited

In the face of growing national outrage, Lorri L. Jean, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, today repeated calls for the removal of Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court. Moore wrote a hate-filled and homophobic opinion to supplement the Court’s 9-0 decision on February 15 awarding custody of three teens to their father rather than their lesbian mother.

At a press conference and rally today in Montgomery, Jean stated (complete text follows this release):

"I am here on behalf of millions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and our families and friends all over the nation who are appalled that the Alabama Supreme Court purports to be a fair and just tribunal... In an opinion that is stunning in its hatred and ignorance, Chief Justice Moore has branded an entire class of people as abhorrent, immoral, detestable, evil… He has even gone so far as to write that the state should jail and execute homosexuals simply because of whom we love. In so doing, he has proven he is unfit to serve as a judge, and he should be removed.

"Today I call upon all elected officials of the state of Alabama to take a moral stand on behalf of fairness and against bigotry, against hatred and ignorance, against religious intolerance and extremism…I call upon you to restore the possibility of justice for ALL people in the Alabama courts by removing Chief Justice Moore from his position."

Since Moore's remarks one week ago, a groundswell of national support from individuals, advocacy organizations, and newspapers have called for his removal from office. Organizations who participated in the press conference included the NGLTF, the Human Rights Campaign, Equal Partners in Faith, Equality Begins at Home of Central Alabama, Alliance for Civility and Tolerance, and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Alabama.

In his opinion, Chief Justice Moore called homosexuality "abhorrent, immoral," and "detestable." In supporting the Court's decision, he stated, "if a person openly engages in such a practice, that fact alone would render him or her an unfit parent." In what is undoubtedly the most outrageous section of his statement, Moore advocates extreme measures citing that "protection of the family is a responsibility of the State." He continues: "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."

Full text of remarks, attributable to Lorri L. Jean:

"I have come to Montgomery today to stand in solidarity with our hundreds of members who live in Alabama and with ALL fair-minded Alabamans - people who are hurt and ashamed and angry at the blatant bigotry and unrepentant ignorance that has spewed forth from the Alabama Supreme Court.

"I am here on behalf of millions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and our families and friends all over the nation who are appalled that the Alabama Supreme Court purports to be a fair and just tribunal. There is no justice in the Alabama Supreme Court for gay people. In an opinion that is stunning in its hatred and ignorance, Chief Justice Moore has branded an entire class of people as abhorrent, immoral, detestable, evil. It’s bad enough that he has sought to impose his personal religious beliefs upon all Alabamans-in clear violation of our constitutional mandate of separation of church and state. But he has even gone so far as to write that the state should jail and execute homosexuals simply because of whom we love. In so doing, he has proven he is unfit to serve as a judge, and he should be removed.

"On September 11 the entire nation saw what happens when religious intolerance and extremism rule the day. Moore’s opinion could have been written by the Taliban. He has proven that he is a religious fanatic who cannot separate his personal beliefs from his judicial mandate to dispense fair and impartial justice. There is no place for such fanaticism in the courts of America.

"Sadly, this is not the first time that the people of this state or the people of Montgomery have faced ignorance and bigotry and oppression at the hands of the state. The modern civil rights movement began right here 46 years ago with Rosa Parks. In a speech four days later to the First Montgomery Improvement Association, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., concluded with some prophetic words. He said, in part: "When the history books are written in the future, somebody will have to say, 'There lived a … people who had the moral courage to stand up for their rights. And thereby they injected a new meaning into the veins of history and of civilization.'"

"Indeed history has recognized those brave people. They were the fair-minded people of Montgomery. They were in Montgomery 46 years ago, and they are here today. Joined by all of us and by courageous and fair-minded people across the state and throughout the nation. And just as freedom and fairness prevailed then, so too shall we emerge victorious. Whether it takes two days, two years or 200 years, we will never give up. And rest assured, we will win, because a right is on our side.

"Today I call upon all elected officials of the state of Alabama to take a moral stand on behalf of fairness and against bigotry, against hatred and ignorance, against religious intolerance and extremism. I call upon you to join the vast majority of Americans who support equal rights for gay and lesbian people. I call upon you to restore the possibility of justice for ALL people in the Alabama courts by removing Chief Justice Moore from his position."

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.