A Senate candidate in Alabama claimed that “homosexual conduct” should be illegal in a 2005 interview unearthed by CNN.
Roy Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court justice removed in 2015 for telling clerks not to issue same-sex couples marriage licenses, was interviewed on C-SPAN2’s After Words about Lawrence v. Texas. That groundbreaking 2003 SCOTUS decision fully decriminalized homosexuality in the U.S. by ruling state prohibitions against sodomy unconstitutional.
Press asked Moore if he felt that homosexuality should still be a crime. The judge responded that the Supreme Court “usurped the moral prerogative” by striking down anti-gay sodomy laws, which remain on the books in several states.
“What I think is that it was illegal under the law,” Moore told interviewer Bill Press, “that the Supreme Court usurped the role of the legislature and ruled something about our moral law that is improper, and that’s what we’re finding the Supreme Court and the federal district courts are doing daily.”
Press pointed out that Moore didn’t answer the questionand asked for clarity.
“I don’t understand your answer,” the interviewer said. “I think it’s a yes or no. Do you think that homosexuality or homosexual conduct should be illegal today? That’s a yes or no question.”
“Homosexual conduct should be illegal, yes,” Moore responded.
CNN notes that the one-time chief justice, who announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in April, made nearly identical comments in a 2015 video posted to YouTube. When asked his opinion on whether homosexuality should be legal, Moore said, “Sodomy was declared illegal by the United States Supreme Court in 1987, it said there was no right under the constitution to enlarge the fundamental rights of homosexuals.”
But Moore has a long, nasty history of condemning LGBTQ people.
Moore once referred to homosexuality as “abominable, detestable, unmentionable, and too disgusting and well known to require other definition or further details or description” in a 2002 opinion of the Alabama Supreme Court. When asked in a 2015 radio interview with pastor Kevin Swanson whether gays should be put to death, Moore wasn’t sure.
“I’m not here to outline any punishments for sodomy,” he said. “That’s far beyond any issues I’ve come in contact with. I can’t help what some people say, what some people do.”
Swanson is notorious for his virulent opposition to the mere existence of LGBTQ people. He has advocated for the death penalty for homosexuality and blamed Hurricane Harvey on Houston having a “very, very aggressively pro-homosexual mayor.” Moore has appeared on Swanson’s radio show five times.
Moore, who was forced out of the Supreme Court after being found guilty of six counts of ethics violations, is backed in the Senate race by a legion of anti-LGBTQ conservatives, including James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and Chuck Norris. He was endorsed by the National Organization for Marriage, the group who pushed California’s Prop. 8. It has backed constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriage in several states.
Moore has yet to respond to the CNN report.