Speaking Sunday on Fox News, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore declared that he will continue to reject any federal court rulings that state same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional. Why? God’s law (as he interprets it) trumps everything:
“This power over marriage, which came from God under our organic law, is not to be redefined by the United States Supreme Court or any federal court.”
Moore clearly has the same disregard for separation of church and state that other religious-righters do. Consider, for example, similar arguments made by David Barton — head of Texas-based WallBuilders and something like the propaganda minister for the religious right in America — against same-sex marriage:
“From a constitutional standpoint, you cannot exclude morals. A number of conservative libertarians in recent months have been saying ‘hey, marriage is not a constitutional issue’ … yet it is because Article 7 of the Constitutional through the attestation clause incorporates the Declaration [of Independence] into the Constitution.
The Declaration erects the moral standard by talking about the laws of nature and of nature’s god. Marriage has always been defined not only as a law of nature - now, it’s not necessarily in nature, but they called it a natural law that you should be married to one man, one woman because that is what divine law says; the laws of the god who created nature, the law of nature’s god even in the very beginning said one man, one woman, this is good. Jesus reiterated that in Matthew 19 and other places.
So the moral standard, the moral law dictates that marriage is between and man and a woman. That was then incorporated into the Constitution in the Seventh Amendment in what was called the common law. The common law is part of the legal process. And if you look at the common law all the way through time, marriage has been part of the common that. That is why you do not allow bigamy or polygamy or other forms of ‘igamy’ that attack marriage. Marriage is a man and a woman as part of the common law that’s part of the Constitution.”
Our friends at Right Wing Watch summarize Barton’s argument:
“As Barton sees it, the 7th Amendment’s language regarding ‘in suits at common law’ means that the Constitution incorporates all of natural law into our legal system, and since common law is based on God’s law, our entire system of government is really based on God’s law. And thus gay marriage can never be constitutional because it is a violation of God’s law.”
Well, David, that’s not how it works. No matter how much you try to distort history, our nation’s founders very deliberately wrote a Constitution that did not favor any particular religion or its specific teachings. The Constitution protects the rights of all Americans, regardless of their religious beliefs (if any) and regardless of whether they live in Texas, in Alabama or in any other part of the United States.
History and the world today are full of examples of the negative consequences of putting government in the business of declaring which religious beliefs dictate the civil laws that everyone must obey. People like David Barton and Roy Moore have refused to learn that lesson.