Dean Young, one of nine Republicans running in a special election to replace long-time Rep. Jo Bonner (R) in Alabama’s first Congressional district, wants his fellow candidates to sign a pledge to discriminate. And the pledge he is pushing them to all sign would also require them to affirm that they belong to a church whose tenants include opposing marriage equality — a sort of “religious test” in direct conflict with the spirit of the Alabama constitution.
Young’s “Pledge to Oppose Gay Marriage” states that it is “time for men and women of faith to stand for the founding Christian values and morals that made our nation great, to defend our families and the sacred holiness of marriage.” Therefore, each signer must affirm:
1. I believe that the only marriage is between one man and one woman.
2. I believe the Biblical condemnation of homosexuality and thereby gay marriage.
3. The tenants [sic] of my church oppose gay marriage.
4. I oppose gay marriage.
5. As a member of Congress, I shall take active steps to oppose gay marriage.
6. I support the by-law change to expel any member of the Republican Executive Committee who opposes the party position by supporting gay marriage.
AL.com reported Thursday that Young circulated the pledge this week and encouraged his eight primary opponents to join him in signing it. He believes this pledge is necessary because he considers same-sex marriage “a corruption which seeks to destroy the concept of the family,” and sees no place in the Republican Party for candidates who support “homosexuals pretending like they’re married.”
Article I, Section 3 of Alabama’s constitution explicitly states, “no religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state; and that the civil rights, privileges, and capacities of any citizen shall not be in any manner affected by his religious principles.” While this pledge is voluntary, suggesting that one can only be a good representative if they are part of the right kind of church clearly flies in the face of Alabama’s constitutional commitment to religious diversity and freedom. Ironically, Young’s website claims his “mission” is to “fight for the rights of the American people.”
After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act in June, Young complained, “We have a Supreme Court that is legislating from the bench and completely out of control, destroying the Judeo-Christian culture this nation was founded on. Marriage is between one man and one woman, no matter what the Supreme Court says.”
Young, who pledged to introduce articles of impeachment against President Barack Obama, garnered more than 24 percent of the vote in a 2012 primary challenge to Bonner. His campaign website boasts of an endorsement from Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was unanimously removed by his fellow judges during a previous term for failure to comply with a court order to remove an unconstitutional display of the Ten Commandments monument from the state’s judicial building.
Young currently leads the 2013 contenders in reported cash-on-hand thanks to more than $129,000 in self-financing. The Republican primary will be held on September 24.