Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Alabama problem

When Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore pulled a George Wallace and pledged to defy federal court orders in a doomed—and blatantly illegal—attempt to prevent the legal marriages of same-gender couples in the state, he apparently got upset that people dared to compare him Wallace. Obviously, the truth hurts.

Moore denied to NBC News that he’s just like George Wallace:
“I disagree with standing in the schoolhouse door to prevent blacks from getting equal education. We're talking about a constitutional amendment to preserve the recognition that marriage is one man and one woman, as it has been for centuries."
Not only is Moore’s Wallace-like stunt pointless (and his “facts” wrong), he’s also defending something that cannot be defended—just like Wallace did. It’s probably pretty obvious to most people that if Moore really doesn't want to be compared to George Wallace, then maybe he should stop acting so much like him.

However, there’s something else even more directly comparable than imitating Wallace: Alabama is directly repeating another shameful part of the state’s past.

Jeremy Hooper posted the scans below on his site, Good As You (click to enlarge):

The wording used by the Alabama officials determined to stop inter-racial marriage is exactly the same as the wording use by today’s Alabama officials determined to stop same-gender couples from marrying. Moore clearly has competition for evoking the state’s past—and repeating the sins of the 1960s and 70s in a new context.

Moore and the other Alabama officials have already lost. I guarantee that not one of them will defy the courts long enough to be sent to jail for doing so—they’re all grandstanding for political reasons and will cave before they have to pay any personal price for their stunts.

And that’s what makes Moore and his fellow Alabama politicians so especially disgusting: Regardless of what they claim to believe about marriage equality (and I presume that at least some of them are sincere about their anti-gay animus), their stunts are nevertheless only about playing political games with people’s lives, and that’s pathetic.

Still, Moore and his buddies have made their choices. They’ve decided to stand in the way of justice, and to remind people of their state’s deeply troubled past. Decades from now, when people no longer remember what all the fuss was about, Moore and his cronies will be mentioned in the history books, if at all, as being opportunistic far-right obstructionists. Just like George Wallace. They’ve chosen to perpetuate “the Alabama problem”, and that’s the saddest part of all.


rogerogreen said...

But Moore, who's the 10 Commandments statue guy, lives for grandstanding.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

With a little luck, his defying the law and the US Constitution will get him kicked off the bench yet again. If so, he can console himself that his hatred for the rule of law won't impoverish him: He'd be sure to get paid PLENTY of money by the "foundation" he set up.