By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, the Republican leadership of the Alabama House of Representatives used some legislative sleight-of-hand to pass resolution, H.J.R. 192, asking for Congress to call a Convention of the States to pass amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as one man and one woman.
Activist judges across the nation have been overturning defense of marriage legislation across the country. Because of these recent rulings and litigation challenging Alabama’s marriage laws, the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court has urged the legislature to call for a Constitutional Convention to settle the gay marriage debate by passing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
Already a ‘Stand With Judge Moore’ Facebook Page and a website, have been created to further the cause of calling for an article V constitutional convention: something which has never happened in American history. Other conservative groups are urging a constitutional convention to pass a balanced budget amendment.
Chief Justice Moore’s proposed constitutional amendment reads:
“Nothing in this Constitution or in the constitution or laws of any state shall define or shall be construed to define marriage except as the union of one man and one woman, and no other union shall be recognized with the legal incidents thereof within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
Chief Justice Moore told the Associated Press, “The moral foundation of our country is under attack. Moore said that the only way to stop liberal judges who are finding new rights for gay unions is with a state-initiated constitutional amendment.
“Government has become oppressive, and judges are warping the law,” Moore told the A.P. Moore said, “I think the time is ripe for that to happen with the political atmosphere in Congress. They can’t get along or agree on anything.”
The only openly gay legislator in the history of Alabama, Representative Patricia Todd (D) from Birmingham told the Alabama Political Reporter that Speaker Mike Hubbard told her that this would never come to the floor of the House. Todd said that she was deceived and was considering her options. She said that she would have filibustered it if she knew it was being voted on.
The House Joint Resolution was passed hidden among the myriad of HJRs of congratulations condolences, etc. that routinely get passed at the recommendation of the rules committee at the beginning of each legislative day.
Todd said that no one, except the person who slipped them in to the HJRs knew this was in there. Representative Mac McCutcheon (R) is Chairman of the House Rules Committee. The Ranking Minority Member on the Committee is Rep. James Buskey (D) from Mobile.
Rep. James Buskey said that he and the other Democratic member of the Rules Committee had appointments and had stepped out at the time. Rep. Buskey said, “I wish I had been there. I apologize for not having been there. If I had I would have done something about it. I apologize to Rep. Todd.”
Rep. Todd said that she was, “Disappointed in the lack of transparency” and that she likely voted for it only finding out what H.J.R. 192 was from a Reporter who tweeted that it has passed. “I am asking that we respect each other’s differences. I feel that I have been completely disrespected.” “I am appalled that this chamber would resort to something like this to make a point. I can not tell you how deeply saddened I am.”
Rep. Joseph Mitchell (D) from Mobile rose from his wheel chair to voice his opposition and ask that the measure be voted on again.
Rep. Merika Coleman Evans (D) from Midfield also asked for a motion to reconsider.
Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R) from Auburn refused and said, “We have got some work to do.”
Equality for All Chairman, Ben Cooper said in a released statement afterwards, “This is another example of why we must continue our work to advance equal rights for all LGBT individuals in Alabama. The fight for Equality is simply not self-promotion or a self-righteous platform; Equality is the demand for justice and fairness – for everyone. Make no mistake, those who push intolerance and seek gratuitous attention do not represent Alabama’s best interests.”
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have already recognized marriage equality though in many cases, including California the change was forced on the people of the state by activist judges. At least 34 states would be required to vote in favor of redefining marriage to ratify a constitutional amendment.
“Equality Alabama is determined to move this state forward – sooner rather than later,” said Cooper.