We try and make sense over the brouhaha on the subject of gay marriage in Alabama.
Alabama – aka America’s slightly racist-dimwitted cousin – did something very un-Alabama like this week. It became the 37th state in the US that gay and lesbian couples could legally wed. Granted Alabama is in no way leading the charge for LGBT rights, but it’s no longer in the “WAKE THE FUCK UP, DON’T YOU SEE YOU’RE IN THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY!!!” group that 13 other states still find themselves in. But let’s face facts, Alabama has to be graded on a curve considering their past. So in that context, not being the last state to legalize same sex marriage makes Alabama freaking Neo from ‘The Matrix’ as far as I’m concerned!
But not everyone is as excited.
Even though many court officials in Alabama’s largest cities – Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery, ect. – quickly granted marriage licenses on Monday to same-sex couples, many probate judges are still hesitant to do so. As of this writing, the Human Rights Campaign reports that 44 counties are still refusing to issue licenses to same-sex couples. While on the surface this may look as if these judges are directly defying orders from the higher 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, it may not be that simple.
Enter Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore.
Chief Justice Moore – seen above trying to grasp the concept of smiling for a photo – wanted to block judges from marrying gay and lesbian couples in the state. So on Sunday night, the night before Alabama would be allowed to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, he sent a letter to all probate judges in Alabama saying that, “I have a constitutional and a statutory obligation to provide guidance to the probate judges in this state as to their administrative responsibilities under these recent orders.” He goes on by saying that it is his job to look out for what Alabama wants and that by making the state hand out marriage licenses to same-sex couples “is a violation of state sovereignty.”
Now there’s a lot of legalese there, so let me explain this in a context that you would understand.
Let’s say you have a co-worker named Glen.
For all intents and purposes, Glen is liked by the majority of people and a productive member in the office. Now let’s say Glen is also known for his penchant for macaroons – because if we’re being honest here, macrons are the gayest of all pastries. And while there are some in the office that don’t approve of Glen’s “macaroon lifestyle”, for the most part it doesn’t bother anyone, so everyone is basically ok with it.
Well everyone, except your boss Mr. Moore.
Mr. Moore, to put it bluntly, is a real dick! He’s loud, opinionated, and had to be suspended from work once due to his refusal to remove a monument to “donuts” from the break room, even after complaints from co-workers – who don’t share his love of “donuts” – and the Board of Directors (let’s call them the Supreme Court) telling him to remove it.
But as much as Mr. Moore loves “donuts”, he hates macaroons more. Especially when it comes to Glen’s “macaroon lifestyle.”
Mr. Moore believes that macaroons are vile, sinful, and will send those who eat them straight to Hell. He hates Glen’s “macaroon lifestyle” so much that he wants to deny Glen macaroons by saying they are not allowed in this office, even though everyone else in the office can enjoy their pastries in peace.
A few years passed and Glen finally had enough of Mr. Moore. So he decided to go straight to the regional manager – let’s call them the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals – to present his case of why he should be able to eat macaroons, the pastry that he truly loves. After a few months of discussions from the regional manager (11th Circuit Court of Appeals) and the Board of Directors (Supreme Court), they decided Glen should be able to enjoy his macaroons at work!
Everyone seemed to agree with the decision except for Mr. Moore, because it is vital to reiterate that Mr. Moore is a GIGANTIC DICK!
In Mr. Moore’s mind, he knows what’s best for this office not the district manager (11th Circuit Court of Appeals) or the Board of Directors (the Supreme Court). To Mr. Moore, even though both the district manager and the Board of Directors are above him, they have no right to tell the workers of his office what to do; only Mr. Moore has the right to decide what goes on in his office! So when Monday comes around, the people of the office are torn between Mr. Moore – their direct boss – who tells them they can’t have ANY macaroons in the office and the higher ups (the district manager and Board of Directors) who said it was ok for there to be macaroons.
So that’s where we’re at in Alabama. Right now the probate judges that can actually handout marriage licenses in Alabama are being torn between Chief Justice Moore and the federal courts. Hence why same-sex couples can get married, but only in parts of Alabama where some probate judges are handing out licenses.
So is Chief Justice of the Creepy Smile right? In that he can be the only one to decide how to interpret laws in his state?
WHAT?!?! NO, OF COURSE NOT!!!!!
In the cases of federal law vs state law, under Federal Preemption (aka Article VI of the Constitution and numerous past court decisions), federal law will ALWAYS trump state law when not compatible. State laws can only add to the base federal law, not replace them whole hog! The federal government already said that Alabama’s same-sex ban is unconstitutional. Case closed!
But what’s even crazier is that Chief Justice Moore might not have the jurisdiction that he’s saying he does!!!
Chief Justice Moore isn’t leading an Alabama Supreme Court case that wasn’t brought to him, but a case that was brought against the Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange to recognize same-sex marriages in which it then went into district court! REPEAT, went to the US District Court, NOT the Alabama Supreme Court! That would be like Glen going to the district manager then having Mr. Moore chime in, who is not the boss of your office, BUT OF SOME OTHER GOD DAMN OFFICE ACROSS TOWN!!!
After doing a LOT of research on this topic, I came to a conclusion.
Chief Justice Moore is like Alabama Gov. George Wallace in the 1960’s. Both men see the tide of a liberal change coming to their doorstep – Wallace on segregation and Moore on same-sex marriage – and both are trying to desperately buy just a little more time, before it inevitably washes over them. It’s pretty obvious, for Chief Justice Moore anyway, that this isn’t a legal battle but a personal one for him.
Gay marriage is happening in Alabama, even a Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice can’t stop it. Guys like Moore are only going to be remembered for trying to keep back progress in society.
Well that and his smile that haunts your dreams.
Well I guess he’ll be remembered for two things then.
(Photo Credit: Google Images, Tumblr)