culture warrior

Alabama is getting ready to send us the most homophobic Senator since Jesse Helms

When it comes to our issues, no one expects Alabama to be San Francisco with a Southern drawl. But even by that state’s conservative standards, Judge Roy Moore stands out. Moore has made a career as a culture warrior in the courtroom. And now he’s about to ride that career right into the U.S. Senate.

Moore is most famously known for putting a monument of the Ten Commandments in his courtroom and refusing to remove it despite being ordered to do so for violating the separation of Church and State. He lost his job as a result, only to have Alabama voters return him to it a decade later, in 2013.

The intervening years did nothing to lessen Moore’s extemism. Instead of the Ten Commandments, he used his return to the bench to make his cause attacking LGBTQ equality. When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality was the law of the land, Moore used his seat on the state high court to prohibit Alabama from issuing marriage licenses.

Legally, the move was completely unjustifiable. But politically, it was genius. It established Moore once again as the man of principle willing to risk his job for (homophobic) principles. The decision was just what he needed to boost his visibility among conservative evangelical voters, of which there is no shortage in Alabama.

Related: Trump Is The Seven Deadly Sins Incarnate. Not That The Religious Right Cares

Even Alabama has its limits, and Moore was suspended from the bench for his stunt, eventually resigning after losing an appeal. But with the appointment of Sen. Jeff Sessions as Trump’s Attorney General, Moore saw his opening for a comeback.

Moore has used his Senate campaign to push his homophobic views. He has stated that the U.S. may be a focus of evil in the world because of same-sex marriage. He also has declared that he was persecuted for his faith when he was suspended from the bench.

The party establishment in Alabama has lined up behind Luther Strange, who was appointed to take over Sessions’ spot until a special election could be held. But Moore upset the party’s plans with a strong second place finish in the primary and is now leading Strange in some polls. Strange won’t be grand marshall in a pride parade anytime soon, but he represents the more genteel version of homophobia that characterizes modern-day conservatives, compared to the Moore’s spittle-flecked approach.

If anything, Moore is reminiscent of the most homophobic Senator of modern times: Jesse Helms. The main difference is that Helms’ heyday was 20 years ago.

Related: Suspended Antigay Justice Roy Moore’s Son Arrested For 8th Time In 5 Years

Moore’s ascendancy is a sign that the culture wars are back in full force. Steve Bannon’s Breitbart News has gone all in on Moore’s candidacy, even though Bannon’s former boss, President Trump, endorsed Strange. Moore is exactly the type of extremist who appeals to the far-right base that Breitbart has been activating.

And if Moore is elected? Don’t underestimate the damage a single Senator can do. He can put holds on appointments he doesn’t like, for example. More to the point, his election will spook other Republicans, who fear primary attacks from the right. His election would prove yet again that being a bigot is no bar to success.

Unfortunately, that will embolden another crop of homophobic candidates aching to follow in his footsteps.

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10 Comments

  • KaiserVonScheiss

    Anyone else thing the 17th amendment should be repealed?

    And judges shouldn’t be elected either.

    • DCguy

      And by repealing the 17t do you mean getting rid of the Senate, or that each state shouldn’t get 2?

    • KaiserVonScheiss

      No, US Senators were elected by the state legislatures prior to the 17th amendment.

      Since the 17th, the Federal government has bloated in size because the Senators are no longer beholden to the states.

    • DCguy

      Hmm, Hell must be freezing over because I don’t automatically disagree with something you posted. Maybe there is hope for Congress.

      My only problem with that is, I’m not a fan of people with so much power being chosen by other politicians, you tend to get party hacks. HOWEVER with our campaigns financed by lobbyists there needs to be a change. I’m not sure how I feel on this one but I absolutely see where you’re coming from and how you got there.

      I also wouldn’t mind Senators having the equivalence of a boss, i.e. if you don’t show up for votes, or you can’t prove you know the substance of a bill you’re suspended etc…

  • Herman75

    Alabama isn’t any more homophobic than a lot of other places, is it?
    The city of Birmingham draped a rainbow flag at their city hall in solidarity with Orlando, after the Pulse massacre.

    Places like Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming and Oklahoma have led the charge in hate against us, in recent times.

    • Kangol

      Well, if Alabamans aren’t more homophobic than other states then they’ll vote against Judge Roy Moore, who is openly and rabidly homophobic. He’s far to the right of anyone else, Republican or Democrat, currently in the US Senate, and that includes Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and James Inhofe, to name three on the far, far right.

    • DCguy

      Alabama is about to elect the guy made famous because he fought against the Supreme court’s marriage decision.

      And don’t forget, in the year 2000 nearly 40% of Alabama voters voted to KEEP a law against interracial marriage on the state books even though it was superseded by Federal law.

      Yes, that is right, in the year 2000 nearly 40% of Alabama voted in favor of a state law banning interracial marriage. So please stop trying to pretend Alabama isn’t exactly what it is.

  • Jaxton

    I wonder if Moore is a closet case.

    • ProfessorMoriarty

      @Jaxton: Ugh, what a revolting thought.

  • DCguy

    Look, we’ve seen it before, these right wing nut-jobs are obsessed with gays, and end up getting caught with a male prostitute or exposed in some other way. We know Moore is a closet case, I’m just waiting to see how he ends up exposing that fact.

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