Lambda Legal Files Ethics Complaint Against Alabama Chief Justice

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Says judge is "unfit," calls on Judicial Inquiry Commission to take action
February 20, 2002


(ATLANTA, Wednesday, February 20, 2002) — Lambda Legal on Wednesday filed a formal complaint with the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission and called for a full investigation of state Chief Justice Roy Moore, saying he is unfit because of his shockingly prejudiced statements against gay people in a recent legal opinion.

“Chief Justice Moore’s statements make it abundantly clear that he is incapable of giving any lesbian or gay person in Alabama their fair day in court. Rather than displaying a fair and open mind when addressing legal claims regardless of anyone’s sexual orientation, the judge blindly condemns gay people and explicitly refuses to rule based on the actual evidence in a case,” said Hector Vargas, regional director of Lambda’s Southern Regional Office, which serves communities in Alabama.

Lambda is the oldest and largest legal organization dedicated to the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, the transgendered, and people with HIV and AIDS.

Moore last week issued a lengthy concurring opinion – several times longer than the actual opinion from the full court – in a child custody case. While the full court’s opinion virtually ignored the mother’s sexual orientation, Moore’s opinion focused exclusively on the fact that she is a lesbian.

Notorious for hanging a copy of the Ten Commandments in his courtroom, Moore in his opinion assailed gay partners as “abhorrent,” “immoral,” “detestable,” “an inherent evil,” and “inherently destructive to the natural order of society,” citing biblical references and “direct revelation found in the Holy Scriptures.” Notably, he issued his opinion just days before the third anniversary of the brutal anti-gay murder of an Alabama man, Billy Jack Gaither.

Lambda Senior Counsel Patricia Logue, a national expert on family law matters, said, “Lambda has worked for years to eliminate judicial bias against gay and lesbian parents and their children. We cannot and will not stand by while the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court ignores the best interests of children in favor of anti-gay generalizations.

She added, “We urge the state Judicial Inquiry Commission to conduct a prompt and thorough inquiry.”

Contact: Hector Vargas, 404-897-1880 x 24

Peg Byron 212-809-8585 x 230, 888-987-1984 (pager)