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John Oliver Takes Aim at Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore and the Problem of Elected Judges: VIDEO

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Fun fact: 85% of state judges in America are elected. Unsurprisingly, this didn't sit well with John Oliver, who devoted his top story of last night's Last Week Tonight to highlighting the numerous conflicts of interest that arise when judges must pander to the electorate and accept campaign money in order to keep their jobs. 

Exhibit A on Oliver's list of problematic judges is Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who Oliver says is living up to his state slogan "Alabama: Boldly refusing to accept diversity and the inevitable since 1819" with his continued efforts to try and stop gay marriage.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Alabama Supreme Court Justice Threatens To Abolish All Marriages In The State to Prevent Gays From Marrying

MurdockWell if this isn't just the most petty "I'm taking my ball and going home" bit of childishness.

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Glenn Murdock, like many Alabama officials, is immensely unhappy with gay marriage being made legal in his state. He added his opinions to a brief order filed on February 9th, stating in part:

[C]onsidering the meaning of the term "marriage" intended by the Legislature in those statutes, they may be deemed to survive, or must be stricken wholly void, if they are not to be applied solely to a union between a man and a woman.

In other words, if gays can get married, then no one is allowed to get married in Alabama, because somehow gay marriages possibly threaten the constitutionality of all marriages in the state.


Jon Stewart Rips Roy Moore and Alabama a New One for Denying Marriages to Gay Couples: VIDEO

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In his Daily Show return this week, Jon Stewart took a brilliant look at the nonsense which went down in Alabama earlier this month after Chief Justice Roy Moore decided he was going to defy federal court orders that the state hand out marriage licenses to gay couples.

"In the minds of these judges and clerks, Biblical law supersedes federal law," Stewart notes, before reminding us of the state constitutional amendment passed last year prohibiting state judges and officials from basing any of their decisions on foreign law.

"Hmm. Where was the Bible written again?"

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Apple Fires Anti-Gay Alabama Lobbyist

Tech giant Apple has terminated its contract with a former Republican state representative from Alabama, Jay Love, who has a long history of anti-gay views yet who had also recently been hired as a lobbyist for the company. The Washington Blade reports that when questioned about what role Love plays on behalf of Apple, the company commented that Love no longer works for them:

LoveKristin Huguet, an Apple spokesperson, said Monday her company doesn’t employ Love when asked if Apple was OK with his views and why he was hired in the first place. “Jay Love does not work for Apple nor does he do any lobbying on our behalf,” Huguet said. 

But if Apple has terminated its contract with Love, the process hasn’t formally been certified by the Alabama Ethics Commission. Vicky Manning, a lobbyist for the Alabama Ethics Commission, said she’s received no notification yet from Apple that Love’s contract was terminated. “As of yet, I do not have the termination statement in our office,” Manning said. “They have 10 days in which to submit any changes in their registration.” Over the course of his 10-year career as a Republican representing part of Montgomery in the state legislature, Love opposed same-sex marriage.

In the past, Love came out in strong opposition to the 2008 California Supreme Court decision that overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage (only to be nullified of course by the passage of Proposition 8) and praising former Miss California Carrie Prejean who in 2009 voiced her support for "traditional" marriage. Love even introduced legislation commending Prejean. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook hails from Alabama and in October of last year criticized his home state for moving too slowly on LGBT equality:

"As a state, we took too long to take steps toward equality," Cook, one of this year's inductees into the Academy, said to a crowd gathered in the Old House Chamber at the Alabama State Capitol. "We were too slow on equality on African-Americans. We were too slow on interracial marriage. And we are still too slow on equality for the LBGT community."

The Washington Blade notes that Love declined to comment for their article.


GOP 2016 Hopefuls Punt on Alabama Gay Marriage Questions

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While Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's pageantry plays out over the gay marriage fight in his state, Politico notes a number of likely GOP 2016 contenders are choosing to sit this one out.

When pressed on the fight in the Deep South state, where the chief justice has ordered county officials to ignore a federal court ruling permitting same-sex marriages, likely GOP 2016 contenders reached by POLITICO or interviewed elsewhere have largely tried to sidestep specifics.

Even some of the most conservative hopefuls prefer instead to talk more broadly about federalism and states’ rights, comments that come as the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right applicable nationwide.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s answer is a typical example: “The problem is, I just don’t know the details of what arguments they are using” in Alabama, he said, adding that while he has “always believed that marriage has always been defined by states and regulated by states and should continue to be,” he would respect the Supreme Court decision.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who is pushing a constitutional amendment to require that the federal government defer to the states on same-sex marriage, also avoided discussing the particulars of the Alabama case. “My view is that marriage is a question for the states,” he said.

CarsonPolitico adds the one notable exception was Dr. Ben Carson (right), who defended Moore's obstructionist efforts and said Moore "understands the importance of preserving states’ rights in the modern post-Civil War world in which we live."

The article also goes on to point out how other contenders like Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Scott Walker and Mike Huckabee are addressing the Alabama question and the wider issue of a likely future where nationwide marriage equality is the law of the land. 

Read the full article here


Alabama State Rep. Pledges to Use 'Every Legislative Remedy and Tool' to Fight Gay Marriage

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 4.45.53 PM

The gay marriage fight in Alabama continues as State Rep. Will Ainsworth (above) is calling on Marshall County Probate Judge Tim Mitchell (below) to reverse his decision and refrain from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couple this coming week reports AL.com. Ainsworth, a father of three and a former youth pastor, issued a statement last Thursday saying Mitchell shouldn’t cater to "ungodly" attacks on traditional marriage.

Said Ainsworth:

"As a Christian and former youth pastor, I cannot stand idly by while the wishes of almost 90 percent of Marshall County voters who supported the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment are being violated by liberal judges pursuing a political agenda.

"The probate judge in Marshall County, who is a Democrat, must not capitulate to the ungodly and immoral attacks on traditional marriage. If I were in his shoes, I would stand strong and hold my ground in defense of God's law, not the unconstitutional and immoral law being manufactured by liberal activists."

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 4.49.17 PMAinsworth’s statement follows Judge Mitchell’s proclamation last Thursday that he plans to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples this coming week starting on Tuesday, Feb. 17. Judge Mitchell cited U.S. District Judge Callie Granade’s mandate and that he plans on following her precedent.

Said Mitchell:

"Issuance of marriage licenses is a vital function of the probate office to the citizens of Marshall County. Under the terms of Judge Granade's order, I must now also issue marriage licenses to same-same-sex couples. I respect the rule of the law and I will abide by the order of Judge Granade, unless the federal courts of the courts of the state of Alabama provide further guidance or rulings on this issue. I appreciate the patience of all Marshall County citizens during this difficult time of transition."

Since Granade’s ruling, a majority of probate judges, including Mitchell, are now following Judge Granade's precedent. Ainsworth, like Bryan Fischer and his ilk, believe judges shouldn’t force individuals to violate their religious beliefs to satisfy a vocal minority, further relying on their baseless claims that gay marriage destroys societies. Ainsworth also declared he intends on fighting the "gay agenda" to the bitter end.

Said Ainsworth:

"Every society that has allowed the marriage covenant to be destroyed has withered away and vanished. I do not believe we should hate homosexuals because every person should be treated with love and respect, but something that is immoral does not become moral simply because an activist judge decided it is legal… 

"During the campaign, my signs carried the slogan 'Fight Obama,' and, make no mistake, the gay rights agenda is the bedrock of Obama's agenda. I will use the upcoming session to look for every legislative remedy and tool that can be used to protect our traditional, conservative Alabama values, and I will continue the fight even after others have surrendered."


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