Cowardice and Hatred, or, Alabama

The heart of cowardice: Alabama.

Perhaps “Yellowhammer State” is the wrong nickname for Alabama, which seems determined to identify according to its titanic yellow streak.

This is what cowards do:

Less than two weeks after a federal judge ordered him to comply with her ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, Mobile County’s probate judge has indicated he will not process a couple’s adoption petition until after the Supreme Court decides another case.

That has put Cari Searcy’s second-parent adoption in legal limbo and prompted her lawyers to filed a new lawsuit Tuesday in federal court asking for an order prohibiting Probate Judge Don Davis from “directly or indirectly” enforcing the state’s same-sex marriage ban that the federal judge struck down last month.

It was Searcy’s inability to adopt the boy that she and spouse Kim McKeand have raised since birth that prompted them to challenge Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage.

David Kennedy, one of the couple’s lawyers, expressed exasperation at Davis’ decision. He noted that the U.S. Supreme Court allowed U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. “Ginny” Granade’s order to take effect and that Granade handed down a separate order on Feb. 13 specifically instructing Davis to stop enforcing the gay marriage ban.


And if this isn’t enough of an indictment of the low character of Alabama, well, they do go on:

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby said today he has a traditional view of marriage and he understands Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore’s resistance to the state’s acceptance of same-sex marriage.

“I’ve always believed and still believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. I voted on that in the U.S. Senate,” Shelby, a Republican from Tuscaloosa, said after speaking this morning to the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.

“I think the overwhelming majority of the people still believe that.”


We should not be surprised. Neither Shelby’s ignorance nor cheap hatred reflects anything unusual about what goes on in Alabama. Consider that by Shelby’s logic―

“We had a federal district court in Mobile make a ruling, then they had a ruling from the 11th Circuit, but the Supreme Court hasn’t. So I think that’s the point [Roy Moore is] making, that it’s not a final ruling, as I understand it,” Shelby said.

―nobody anywhere needs obey a court until they reach the Supreme Court and lose. And if that sounds strange, it is. But it’s also the result of applying Shelby’s particular argument to general consideration. In a more mundane consideration, it is also worth pointing out that Sen. Shelby is wrong; polling shows Americans support marriage equality. But, hey, this is Alabama, so what need have they for reality or basic decency, right? Just say whatever the hell they want, because, you know, they’re from Alabama, which means they’re automatically correct even when reality disagrees.

Really. Alabama. They keep electing these bigots; at some point those votes start to reflect on the character of the state, and it is not what we might call a flattering picture.

But, oh, how they do go on:

National supporters of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore say they aren’t bigoted against gay couples. They say a federal judge has overreached and can’t strike down Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“God loves everyone,” said the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, D.C., adding his community welcomes “gays, straights and persons of color. It doesn’t matter.”


God might love everyone, but that says exactly nothing about Rev. Mahoney’s arrogant usurpation of His authority. The pretense of Christian humility and grace collapses when the faithful pretend any excuse they can think of to judge and condemn others. The question arises whether they think they can deceive God; lex parsimonae would suggest they are simply faithless.

Furthermore, there is always a very juvenile, undereducated aspect about this sort of bullying bigotry; it is as if Alabama wants all the rights and privileges and benefits that come with being American, but refuse the concomitant responsibilities. And this is a common conservative rhetorical device familiar to a generation raised amid the noise and fury of conservatives whining that the fact of another’s freedom of speech violates their own. We still see this today, when simply disagreeing with a right-wing political argument moves a conservative to complain that one is violating their right to free speech.

Judges Moore and Davis, and their supporters such as Rev. Mahoney, are bigots. And bullies. And plenty of other unpleasant words.

There comes a point, though, at which we really should wonder whether these people are capable of serving their various offices, be it state house, courthouse, or God’s house.

Consider a weird social media exchange between two attorneys general; Mark Herring of Virginia thanked state senators who blocked an effort to force him to defend an unconstitutional law. Alabama’s AG, Luther Strange, responded that Mr. Herring is not doing his job “when he ignores his duty to defend the laws of his state”. Mr. Strange apparently believes an American state refusing American law is admirable. One wonders if Mr. Strange or his would-be outlaw judges have never heard of the Supremacy Clause found in Article VI of the U.S. Constitution―

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

(Emphasis added)

―or if they simply don’t care.

They have taken oaths to uphold the U.S. Constitution. It’s a part of public service.

But we see what a man’s word is worth in Alabama.

Yet they keep electing these people.

The Yellowhammer State competes for the title of the Yellow State. These cowards are the manifestation of Alabaman will.

It’s really quite easy to drop out of that competiton, and leave it for Kansas or Texas. Or Louisiana. Or West Virginia. Or any number of other states so similarly afflicted with hubris. Just quit with the hatred and stop trying to hide behind the Confederacy and fake Christianity. Our Christian neighbors in other states are weary of answering for such dishonesty and usurpation.


Kirby, Brendan. “Mobile probate judge won’t approve adoption in gay marriage case; plaintiffs file new suit”. 24 February 2015.

Cason, Mike. “Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby says he understands Roy Moore’s stance on same-sex marriage”. 23 February 2015.

Edgemon, Erin. “We’re not bigots: Roy Moore supporters say they’re fighting judicial overreach in Alabama”. 25 February 2015.

Underwood, Madison. “Virginia AG tweets ‘Virginia is not Alabama’ after not being forced to defend gay marriage ban”. 24 February 2015.

Constitution of the United States of America. Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School. 1992.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s