By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Most Americans grew up being taught in school that this nation was built based on “Judeo-Christian” values. The America of the 21st Century is increasingly secular as more and more Americans abandon the faith of their youth or at least come to the view that their faith is increasingly separate from their government and American society is changing in a number of ways.
Nowhere has that change become more pronounced than in the issue of gays and gay marriage. A decade ago, a homosexual act was illegal in Alabama. Not only could homosexuals not marry; but they could be jailed for their behavior. In 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision ‘Lawrence vs. the State of Texas’ eventually struck down ‘sodomy laws’ which were based on the Biblical teaching (in the Old Testament the penalty was death). As homosexuals increasingly have become more publicly accepted in American society they have demanded changes in laws they feel are discriminatory towards them.
In the 1990s ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ replaced the policy of expelling homosexuals from the military. The Obama administration eventually tossed the Clinton Administration’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell for a policy banning discrimination of homosexuals in the military. In the 1990s the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed both Houses of Congress with very little opposition. By the Obama Administration the law which prohibited states from legalizing gay marriage was widely seen as un-Constitutional and would eventually be tossed aside by the courts. With DOMA out of the way gay advocates on federal benches and in state legislatures have been assaulting the: Marriage = One Man and One Woman principle that has been codified by many states including Alabama.
On Monday, October 6 the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear challenges to many of those rulings. This effectively legalized gay marriage in several states as the U.S. Supremes allowed those rulings striking the prohibition to stand.
The executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, Susan Watson, issued a statement regarding the Supreme Court’s refusal today to hear the same-sex marriage cases that were pending: “This great nation was founded on the principles of equality for all. Today’s action by the Supreme Court is a perfect illustration of what America stands for: it doesn’t matter if you are black or white; male, female, transgender; straight, gay, bisexual….we are all entitled to equality in the eyes of the law. And today, we are one step closer to giving all gay couples the ability to marry and have all the legal rights and privileges that traditional couples have. This truly deserves to be celebrated as not only a victory for marriage equality, but for the United States as well.”
Human Rights Campaign Alabama Director R. Ashley Jackson said in a written statement,“Any time same-sex couples are extended marriage equality is something to celebrate, and today is a joyous day for thousands across America who will immediately feel the impact of today’s Supreme Court action, but this news is an unfortunate reminder that LGBT Alabamians still lack basic legal protections against discrimination, and cannot legally marry the person they love in the place they call home.”
The Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy Moore has called for a Constitutional Convention to define marriage as between one man and one woman. To this point that effort has not advanced noticeably.