In 2008 audio, Roy Moore compares marriage equality to Nazism and pines for sodomy laws

He calls the Supreme Court's decision overturning sodomy laws "terrible" and "devastating."

CREDIT: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson
CREDIT: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Embattled Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore has a long history of condemning homosexuality, but new audio discovered by ThinkProgress reveals Moore opining at length that the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning laws criminalizing homosexuality was “terrible” and “devastating.” He also compared judges ruling in favor of same-sex marriage to Nazis.

Moore delivered the 2008 speech to a group called Vision Forum, a now-defunct evangelical organization that promoted “Biblical patriarchy” theology. The speech was part of Vision Forum’s “Witherspoon School of Law and Public Policy,” a series of four-day crash courses on Christian legal principles that were open only to men. Moore served on the school’s faculty for at least a decade. The speech was also incorporated into a curriculum Vision Forum published that instructed that women should not be allowed to hold public office.

The thrust of Moore’s remarks was that all morality derives from God. Through this lens, he reflected on his fight to keep a monument of the Ten Commandments in the Alabama Judicial Building, boasting, “I’ve written many opinions acknowledging God as the source, the moral source of our law.”

He also bemoaned a decision by the California Supreme Court that had been handed down just two weeks prior legalizing marriage for same-sex couples, suggested it was evidence the U.S. was a “nation gone under.” Moore described the justices as “destroying the institution of marriage,” and also suggested that future decisions will allow “one man to marry ten women or a man to marry his two daughters.”

It was during the lengthy question-and-answer session, however, when Moore actually opened up about his beliefs on these issues.

Responding to a question about the future of the judiciary, Moore reflected on the writings of 18th-century jurist William Blackstone to emphasize that “all morality comes from God,” but this time went further about the consequences of abandoning that principle. “And as demonstrated in Nazi Germany,” he said, “that results in an ultimate power given over to the state to commit murder.” The Nazis claimed that they did nothing wrong because they were simply following orders from the state, he explained.

He then directly connected this to the marriage equality developments in California. “In my humble opinion, this is a spiritual battle in which everything of God is being attacked, and that’s what it’s about,” Moore said. “It’s not just about the institution of marriage, it’s about the institution of parents’ rights over their children, it’s about every kind of sexual thing you can imagine, which I won’t go into, but it’s destroying anything about God.”

At a later point in the Q&A, Moore compared his own resistance regarding the Ten Commandments monument to Nazi resisters who knew they’d be punished for not obeying the law.

Another question asked Moore what he thought were the worst decisions the U.S. Supreme Court had handed down. First he mentioned the 2003 Gonzales v. Carhart decision because it upheld the right to an abortion (even though it actually upheld a law imposing restrictions on partial-birth abortions). But then he spoke at length about Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 decision overturning Texas’ law criminalizing homosexuality.

Lawrence v. Texas was terrible when they okayed sodomy,” he said. “They actually turned to the laws of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom to find there was a right to commit sodomy. I think that was a devastating opinion.” Technically, the Court noted that the European Convention on Human Rights had overturned sodomy laws in 1981, and by 2003, that precedent applied to 45 nations. In other words, the U.S. was substantially behind its Western counterparts.

“My personal opinion is this: It all goes back to your worldview. Their worldview doesn’t include God. When it doesn’t include God, there is no basis for morality.”

Before the Q&A was over, Moore returned to the topic of the California marriage equality decision one more time to object to the Court’s comparison with civil rights. “Well there’s a lot of difference in the color of one’s skin, and sodomy, right?” he said. “One is a natural thing, and rightfully so, you don’t discriminate. Then you say sodomy is a right and homosexuality is a right and it’s right to get married, just like a civil right, well that’s demeaning and it’s wrong.”

He expressed his hope that the people of California would support Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage — which they did.

That same year, Vision Forum posted a video clip from another of Moore’s talks to its Witherspoon School of Law and Public Policy. In it, he reads a poem he wrote about the Declaration of Independence, which includes the line, “For when abortion is no longer called murder, when sodomy is deemed a right, then good is now called evil and darkness is all called light.” The poem also includes an objection to kids being taught evolution in schools.

All of these anti-gay remarks add to an already long litany of such remarks. In a 2015 video, Moore affirmed, “I think homosexuality should be illegal,” going on to compare it to homosexuality. In 2002, he ruled that a lesbian woman would be an “unfit” parent because “homosexual behavior is crime against nature, an inherent evil, and an act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it.”

At an event Wednesday night, Moore was still using anti-LGBTQ rhetoric to further his cause. He blamed liberals, “lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders,” socialists, and “the Washington establishment” for the accusations against him that he sexually abused several women when they were teenage girls. Even conservative anti-LGBTQ provocateur Ben Shapiro noted that Moore’s accusers were actually “straight white Trump supporters.”

In a September interview with the Washington Post, Moore clarified, “I’ve been accused of saying I want to kill homosexuals because the Bible says. And I don’t.”