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Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

MONTGOMERY, AL, April 22, 2015 ( – A national group of 7,000 black clergy has honored Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore with their “Courage Award” for defending traditional marriage.

Last Friday, the Coalition of African-American Pastors awarded Justice Moore the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail Courage Award” for his public stand. The award is named after the famous letter written by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which advocates non-violent civil disobedience of unjust laws.

The African-American pastors association explained it wanted to help the public “understand how momentous this stand for principle was.”

“Justice Moore's memorandum on the question of conscience, constitutionality, and state law is a shining example of the rigorous intellectual analysis that is both necessary and rare in the public square,” the Coalition stated. “By making a principled and persuasive stand for marriage, Justice Moore has singled himself out as someone who is ready to defend our most cherished values and help lead this new civil rights movement.” 

It is significant that the Coalition identified the defense of traditional marriage and related religious freedom as the “new civil rights movement,” in contrast to the gay agenda's identification of same-sex “marriage” as the modern civil rights movement.

The Coalition continued, “By his words and actions, Justice Moore has helped preserve marriage, the family, justice, and the spirit of democracy. This is what it means to be a ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail Courage Award' recipient.”

Justice Roy Moore first became widely known in 2003 when he prominently displayed a monument of the Ten Commandments at the federal court house, and refused to remove it.  The federal government imposed a $5,000 fine each day the monument remained in place. When Moore was overruled by the court's other justices, the monument was removed, and Moore was fired.  In 2012, Moore was elected and returned as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

Now Justice Moore has spoken against gay “marriage,” saying that federal courts should respect state laws upholding marriage as the exclusive union of a man and a woman.  He called the federal court's decision imposing same-sex “marriage” on the states “judicial interference,” and called for states to disobey federal rulings that sanction gay “marriage.”

The Coalition of African-American Pastors chose Justice Moore for their award the day after the Alabama Supreme Court ordered the state’s probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite a federal court ruling declaring the state’s ban on same-sex “marriage” unconstitutional.

Reverend William Owens, who himself marched in the civil rights movement 50 years ago, introduced Moore during the CAAP event, stating, “Although Justice Moore is not violating any law – he has stood up for the law – he is being persecuted [as if] he were violating the law.”

Rev. Owens equated the federal imposition of gay “marriage” with religious persecution. “What about the Christians' rights?” he asked. “It’s not about [gays] getting equal rights — they’re taking our rights.”

Rev. Owens expressed outrage over Attorney General Eric Holder’s comparison of same-sex “marriage” to the fight for racial equality.

“The LGBT community hijacked our movement, a movement they know nothing about,” Owens explained to Breitbart News. “President Obama is delusional to compare our struggle with the struggle for marriage equality. Gays have not had fire hoses or dogs unleashed at them. They have not been hung from trees or denied basic human rights.”

“President Obama didn’t march,” Owens continued. “He has benefited from those of us who did march, but for President Obama to say 'we marched so that gays would have the right to marry today,' is a disgrace and a lie.”

“We’re not to obey unjust laws, but we are to be willing to pay the penalty for not obeying those laws,” Owens said. “That was the basis of the civil rights movement. We will violate the laws, we will march…We are willing to go to jail.”

“What these courts are doing is immoral,” Owens said. “Dr. Martin Luther King explained that…if it’s immoral, it’s not a law at all.”

Alveda King has stated that her uncle, Martin Luther King Jr. would oppose homosexual “marriage,” pointing out that MLK refused to associate the LGBT agenda with the civil rights movement. “My Uncle M.L. lost a high-ranking member of his organizational team, Bayard Rustin, because Rustin was openly gay,” she wrote. “Rustin was convinced that the homosexual agenda should be included in the civil rights struggle…But Uncle M.L. clung to the scripture and refused to acknowledge homosexuality as an issue that needed to be addressed on the public platform where the battle for skin color equity was being engaged.”

Justice Moore said in his public statements that the underlying issue is not civil rights but the ability of the people to make their own law under the Constitution.

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Six justices on the state Supreme Court ruled that Alabama law defines marriage as only between one man and one woman, and a federal court cannot tell them to change that.

Justice Moore recused himself from the case but made his views on judicial activism overturning traditional values known. “A federal judge has no authority to overturn a state constitutional amendment in the face of a state court's opinion on the same matter,” Moore said. He said the federal ruling applied only to the plaintiffs in the litigation and to the judge in Mobile.

Moore noted U.S. Supreme Court decisions which were later reversed, such as the Dred Scott decision, which ruled that black people were not full citizens.  “There is a dangerous tendency in these latter days to enlarge the function of the courts by means of judicial interference with the will of the people as expressed by the [state] legislature,” Moore said.

Moore noted that only three states have legalized same-sex “marriage” through voting. “The other states have been forced by courts to distance themselves from their laws and attitudes regarding marriage.”

The National Organization for Marriage commended Alabama’s Supreme Court for their continuing support of traditional marriage.  “The Alabama Supreme Court is exactly correct that no federal judge has the power to order a state to issue illegal marriage licenses. Other states should follow suit,” NOM President Brian Brown said.

In an interview with The New American, Justice Moore said he is proud that Alabama is the first state to take a stand against federal imposition of same-sex marriage. “Not only are we the first state to do that, our motto is 'We dare defend our rights',” Moore said. “I can't explain why more than 20 other states have bowed down to unlawful federal authority, but Alabama is not one of them.”

The Coalition of African-American Pastors' website describes the group as “a grass-roots movement of Christians who believe in traditional family values such as supporting the role of religion in American public life, protecting the lives of the unborn, and defending the sacred institution of marriage.”

The CAAP said it hopes that Justice Moore's “example inspires others to take similar action to defend marriage in their own communities.”