Judges don’t typically speak publicly on issues like same-sex marriage.
But Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore says if he didn’t speak out against it, he’d consider himself guilty of treason.
At a rally against same-sex marriage on the south steps of the Texas Capitol on Monday, Moore invoked Col. William Barret Travis, the namesake of Travis County, an Alabama native who came to Texas “to draw a line in the sand at the Alamo.”
“He took a stand in the face of an enemy that was far more numerous,” Moore told a crowd of hundreds, including dozens of Republican state lawmakers. “But he knew that he had to make a statement for the people of Texas, and that he would give his life. I hope I don’t give my life, but I’m going to tell you this is a very serious matter. … If we fail to stand up today, we will dishonor the memory, not only of Col. Travis, but all those who’ve died in the history of this great state.”
Moore, famous for once being kicked out of office for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Supreme Court building, recently ordered probate judges not to issue licenses to same-sex couples despite a federal judge ruling the state’s marriage amendment unconstitutional. Reading from several court opinions, Moore told the crowd at the “Defense of Texas Marriage Amendment” rally that federal judges don’t have authority over domestic policy related to family and marriage in the states.
“No court has any authority to redefine what God proposed in Genesis,” Moore said. “The definition of marriage, you want it by man, it doesn’t come by man, it comes from God.”
Also speaking at the rally—the second anti-gay marriage event at the Capitol in as many months—were GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton, as well as Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia) and Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock).
Patrick said the rally, organized by the Conservative Republicans of Texas, was about two issues: supporting “traditional marriage” and defending states’ rights.
“It’s not about being anti-anyone,” Patrick said. “It’s about being for marriage between a man and a woman.”
Secondly, Patrick said, “It’s not the federal government’s business to tell Texans what to do in Texas on any issue.”
Last week, the AG’s office filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Labor over a rule that would extend benefits to same-sex couples in Texas under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
“We’re challenging the Obama administration once again, and we’re going to win this case for Texas,” Paxton said to cheers. “So please continue to pray for us, and I will pray that God blesses this great state of Texas. My office will continue to fight.”
Sen. Perry, who along with Rep. Bell has filed legislation seeking to prevent Texas clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, introduced his pastor, Rev. David Wilson of Southcrest Baptist Church in Lubbock. Perry said the nation needs a revival that starts from the pulpits, and Wilson backed that up with a fiery speech.
“If humans invented marriage, then polygamy, the taking of several wives, polyandry, the sharing of a wife by several husbands, same-sex marriage, marriage between an adult and a child, marriage between relatives, might seem normal and acceptable,” Wilson said. “But if man created marriage, then monogamy, the lifelong union of one man to one woman, would have no more intrinsic value than any other type of marriage. But marriage is not human invention, it is God’s design.”
However, one counter-protester carried a sign noting that Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington)—who filed an ethics complaint against one of the judges who struck down the marriage ban—has been married five times.
“I’m just wondering what gay marriage destroyed his previous four marriages,” said Gary Campbell of Austin.
Another counter-protester, Joseph George, carried a sign saying, “Keep Your Theocracy Off Our Democracy.”
“I’m tired of the right trying to push their religion on everyone,” George said. “These people live in insular bubbles, and they have a very narrow world-view, and they need to be exposed to other ideas.”
Earlier, the Coalition of African-American Pastors hosted a press conference in a Capitol conference room to call on U.S. Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse themselves from hearing lawsuits challenging state marriage bans. However, the press conference, like the rally, focused largely on defending Texas’ ban.
“We are not going to let this erosion, death by a thousand cuts, tear down and destroy what’s left of the family in the state of Texas,” said Dave Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor Council.
Welch pointed to legislation seeking to allow same-sex couples to have both names on the birth certificates of adopted children, as well as city ordinances “criminalizing Christian business owners for practicing their faith” and “allowing men into women’s restrooms.”
Rev. Bill Owens, founder and president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, accused the gay community of stealing and hijacking the civil rights movement.
“They were never beaten. They were never hung from trees. They were never fired for nothing. They were never treated like we were treated,” Owens said, becoming animated in response to a reporter’s question. “You don’t have a clue how we were treated in the South. You don’t have a clue. … This is not a civil rights movement. It’s a civil wrong movement.”
Here’s Moore’s speech at the rally:
Here’s Patrick’s speech:
Here’s Paxton’s speech:
And here’s an exclusive interview with Moore prior to the rally: