Is it fair to compare Chief Justice Roy Moore of Alabama to Governor George Wallace of Alabama?
This week, Moore defied a federal District Court ruling by ordering local probate judges not to license same-sex marriages, a bold challenge to the established principle of federal supremacy over state courts. In short, both Wallace and Moore relied on states’ rights claims to defy the federal government’s demand for social change.
In 1963, Governor George Wallace attempted to stop the integration of Afro-American students into the University of Alabama. Federal troops were called in to make sure that segregation was carried out in Alabama. The same-sex issue is important, but since many states now have legalized same-sex marriage, the people of Alabama seem to think that the issue is inevitable.
The Times Are Changing
Many writers state that Governor George Wallace’s stand had a bigger impact than that of Judge Moore. Afro-Americans were second class citizens employed as maids, but told to “know their place.”
Now, the white population was faced with having the maid’s children in the same classroom as their children.
In the 1960s, few Alabama newspapers would dare publish anything sympathetic to civil rights. The Birmingham News is the largest newspaper in Alabama. In response to Chief Justice Roy Moore Sunday night banning the issuing of marriage licenses to same -sex couples, the paper conducted a poll. Is the Chief Justice a closeted homosexual?
Today, (Feb. 9, 2015)conservative Alabama Governor Robert Bentley seems sympathetic to Moore and hasn’t tried to restrict him. (He’s said he doesn’t want to “further complicate this issue.”) But he also seems likely to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling. “The issue of same sex marriage will be finally decided by the U.S. Supreme Court later this year,” he said in a statement. “I have great respect for the legal process, and the protections that the law provides for our people.”