It is clear that under the guise of religious liberty, opponents of same-sex marriage are determined to wage a kind of long-term guerrilla warfare against it, even if it seems futile to the rest of us since not only has the US Supreme Court struck down any bans on it, public sentiment is also shifting in favor of it.
The chief justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama is in the vanguard of this opposition movement and now he has been suspended from his position because of his actions against implement the same-sex marriage laws.
On Friday, the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission forwarded charges to the commission, accusing the chief justice of violating judicial ethics in his opposition to same-sex marriage.
Despite a ruling by a federal judge in Mobile making same-sex marriage legal in Alabama last year, and in the face of a United States Supreme Court ruling last year making its legality the law of the land, Moore instructed probate judges throughout Alabama to ignore those higher courts and to refuse to issue licenses to same-sex couples.
Moore’s actions led the Southern Poverty Law Center to file complaints with the commission, which acts much in the same way as a grand jury. When it receives a complaint, the commission investigates and decides whether to forward charges to the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.
The process remains secret unless charges are made, as happened Friday evening. Unless Moore reaches a settlement, he will be tried before that court.
Moore was earlier removed from the position of chief justice in 2003 when, in defiance of a ruling by a federal judge, he refused to remove a ten commandments monument that he himself had commissioned and had placed in the state judicial building. After a couple of abortive efforts to win the Republican nomination for governor of Alabama in 2006 and 2010, Moore was later re-elected to the post of chief justice in 2012 for a six year term.
Given his past intransigence about the monument, it seem likely that Moore will refuse to compromise and will be removed again, in which case his replacement will be appointed by the governor Robert Bentley who is himself embattled and under threat of impeachment.
I simply cannot see what this opposition movement hopes to gain. In the case of the Civil Rights movement, the people who were engaged in civil disobedience were demanding that the rights that were already enshrined in the constitution be extended to everyone and be enforced by legislation. This movement is denying the validity of a Supreme Court ruling, in effect demanding the changing of the constitution. That is just not going to happen, even they do succeed in electing a Republican president and Congress. This is irreversible.
The best they can hope for it to keep some people in a state of perpetual anger. Maybe that is what they actually want.