The FAMiLY Leader, a Christian conservative group at the center of Iowa’s anti-LGBT movement, is holding an anti-marriage equality rally today at the state capitol in Des Moines. An email from the group promoting the event obtained by ThinkProgress bills it as the “last, best shot” at passing legislation to revoke same-sex marriage rights during this legislative session in order to “take back [Iowa] for godly marriage.” In addition to the group’s CEO, Bob Vander Plaats, a GOP political kingmaker who likes to compare gay marriage to polygamy and incest, the rally will feature disgraced politician and deposed Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore.
Moore gained nationwide attention in the early 2000s for his quixotic (and unconstitutional) effort to install a 5,200 pound granite monument to the Ten Commandments in the Alabama State Judiciary Building after being elected Chief Justice of the state’s Supreme Court. His religious zealotry earned him widespread celebrity among conservative Christians, but also ultimately resulted in his removal from office on ethics charges after he defied both a federal court order and an order by the other eight Alabama Supreme Court Justices that required the unconstitutional monument to be removed from the building. Moore has a history of other troubling exploits, few of which have gained as much attention as his misguided Ten Commandments quest:
– Followed George Wallace’s Tradition of Courtroom Prayers: Early in his career as a circuit court judge, Moore generated considerable controversy when he opened court proceedings with prayers, just as Alabama’s infamous segregationist governor had when he was a circuit court judge. Indeed, the ACLU began complaining about the practice in 1993 and finally filed suit in 1997. When a judge ordered the prayers to cease and hinted that Moore’s wooden Ten Commandments display may also have to come down, then Governor Fob James also echoed Wallace, proclaiming that he’d go so far as to call out the National Guard to protect Moore’s religious activities. Moore used the fame he garnered from these early prayer incidents to help win election as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2000.
– Close Ties to Group that Has Advocated for the Execution of Gays: Anti-gay Florida outfit Coral Ridge Ministries helped make Moore famous by filming the installation of his Ten Commandments monument and then selling copies of the video to help fund Moore’s legal defense. (Several Moore items continue to be sold on CRM’s website.) According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Moore’s new Alabama organization, the Foundation for Moral Law, is also partly bankrolled by CRM. CRM’s founder, the Rev. D. James Kennedy (whose photo is still prominently displayed on its site) “recommended as ‘essential’ the virulent work of R.J. Rushdoony, who believed practicing gays should be executed.” CRM also promotes the widely-discredited notion of so-called gay conversion therapy and, more recently, warned that repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would result in forced abortions and Christians being excluded from “Barney Frank’s new pansexual, cross-dressing military.” Read more