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ON TARGET COMMENTARY
MORE OF MOORE NEEDED
1/9/16 by Dave Gunn
On January 6th, 2016, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore fired a shot across the bow of the United States Supreme Court and all those who embrace judicial tyranny. Judge Moore ordered all probate judges in Alabama to uphold the law of Alabama, as enacted by the overwhelming vote of the people, and cease issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.
In 2006, 81% of the voters in Alabama (a landslide by any measure) voted to approve Alabama Amendment 774 – the “Sanctity of Marriage Amendment.” This law defined marriage as a “sacred covenant” between a man and a woman, forbid the issuing of marriage licenses to same sex couples, and forbid the state of Alabama from recognizing same sex marriages performed in other states.
On January 23rd, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, Callie Granade, ruled that the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment was a violation of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution because it denied equal protection and due process to same sex couples. The ruling of Judge Granade makes no sense at all because the United States Constitution grants the right of marriage to no one. Therefore, there could be no denial of equal protection or due process on the federal level. Judge Granade did issue a stay on her own order to allow the matter to be appealed.
In the meantime, Judge Moore ordered probate judges in Alabama to not issue same sex marriage licenses. Some probate judges, feeling caught between state law and federal law, stopped issuing all marriage licenses.
Then, in a case unrelated to Alabama law, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision on the Obergefell case, declared all state laws against same sex marriage struck down. Some Alabama probate judges, sensing cover from the U.S. Supreme Court, began to issue same sex marriage licenses in Alabama.
Now Judge Moore has issued a new order – the order of the highest legal official in the State of Alabama – that no probate judge in Alabama issue any same sex marriage licenses. His reasoning is both right and legally sound.
The Obergefell case was an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of an Eighth Circuit Court decision striking down same sex marriage bans in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. No other states were addressed in this case. Later we will give the reason why this is important.
In the first place, neither the Eighth Circuit nor the U.S. Supreme Court should have taken this matter up. The United States Constitution is a document listing the powers of the federal government, of which the Supreme Court and all inferior federal courts are one of three branches. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution plainly states that the powers not listed in the Constitution are forbidden to the federal government, and are reserved to the individual states or to the people. As marriage is not mentioned in the Constitution, the no federal court has any business making any ruling about it.
However, even if a federal court should exceed its authority and want to rule on marriage, the Obergefell case should apply only to four states – none of which are Alabama. Judge Moore, in his order, cited an elementary rule of jurisprudence when he said:
A judgment or decree among parties to a lawsuit resolves issues as among them,
but it does not conclude the rights of strangers to those proceedings.
In other words, Obergefell, even if it is a legitimate issue for federal courts, applies only to Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. It has no bearing whatsoever on any other state, and therefore no bearing on Alabama.
Predictably, Judge Moore has been attacked by the far-leftists of the Southern Poverty Law Center and AL.com, both of which either did not read Moore’s decision or did not have the mental capacity to understand it. Even the socialist harpy Hilary Clinton weighed in, saying that Judge Moore should follow the law.
Actually, Judge Moore is following the law. He is following the law of Alabama and of the United States Constitution. He is resisting the federal tyranny of judges who illegally legislate from the bench, and interpret law, not as it is, but as they want it to be. We need more men and women like Judge Moore in all branches of government.
Those in Alabama who believe in traditional marriage, state’s rights, and the Constitutions of Alabama and the United States, should pray for Judge Moore and write him a letter of support. Then they should call their county probate judge to ask if he or she is following the law of Alabama and the United States as Judge Moore is, and if not, why not. Probate judges who defy the law as correctly interpreted by Judge Moore should be turned out of office.
[Dave Gunn is the nom de plume of Dr. David E. Gonnella, pastor of the Magnolia Springs Baptist Church. The opinions expressed are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of the church or its membership]