Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore compared marriage equality to state-imposed segregation after a group of black pastors compared him to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Coalition of African-American Pastors honored Moore on Friday with the group’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail Courage Award” for his efforts to fight marriage equality, reported Left In Alabama.
Moore said the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson – recognized as one of the worst in American history – could be applied to the same-sex marriage case the court will consider later this month.
However, he argued that federal courts should respect state laws by quoting from the dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson, not the justices’ ruling – although he did not make that clear.
"'There is a dangerous tendency in these latter days to enlarge the function of the courts by means of judicial interference with the will of the people as expressed by the legislature'" Moore said, quoting from the dissent. "'In my opinion the judgment this day rendered will' – he’s talking about the judgment in Plessy v. Ferguson, which said they could not sit on the train cars – ‘in my opinion the judgment this day rendered will in time prove to be quite as pernicious as the decision as the decision made by this tribunal in the Dred Scott case.'"
The 1857 ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford – which found free blacks and slaves were not American citizens and had no standing to sue in federal court – is widely believed to be the worst in U.S. history.
Moore has previously cited the odious rulings to show the Supreme Court had been wrong before as he calls for states to disobey federal rulings that sanction marriage equality.
“Although he is not violating any law – he has stood up for the law – he is being persecuted (as if) he were violating the law,” said Rev. William Owens, who introduced Moore during the CAAP event.
Moore said he believed King would appreciate his and Owens’ efforts to block marriage equality as a stand against religious persecution – and Owens agreed.
“Now what about the Christian rights?” the pastor said. “They tell us what we can do and what we can't do. They're ruining our children. It's not about them getting equal rights -- they're taking our rights.”
Moore said only three states had legalized same-sex marriage through popular referendum, which he seems to believe is the only legally binding method.
"The other states have been forced by courts to distance themselves from their laws and attitudes regarding marriage,” Moore said. “The problem is that federal courts have no authority in that area."
He misstated the ruling in U.S. v. Windsor, which struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, as another federal encroachment on states’ rights.
“There is a right to marry in the Constitution, but it's between a man and a women,” he argued.
Moore later inaccurately claimed that three women had gotten married in Massachusetts – although, in fact, only two of the women are legally married but entered a contractual relationship with a third woman.
“Marriage isn't based on love,” he said. “Marriage is based on the law.”
Watch highlights from the event posted online by leftinalabamavid: