- Associated Press - Sunday, June 28, 2015

KIMBERLY, Ala. (AP) - The U.S Supreme Court, in ruling that gays and lesbians have a right to marry nationwide, handed a decisive loss to Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore who earlier this year fought to keep same-sex marriage from coming to Alabama.

The chief justice, speaking Sunday at Kimberly Church of God, lashed out at the decision, saying he could not accept the ruling as correct. He said it made sin a national right and it was as wrong as the court decisions that allowed slavery.

“Just who do they think they are when one person can reverse 200-and-something years of precedent in our country and thousands of years of precedent in western civilization,” Moore said during remarks Sunday at Kimberly Church of God.

The Republican chief justice, often a lightning rod for controversy, was careful at times to quote or paraphrase the words of dissenting justices in describing his opposition including Justice Samuel Alito’s prediction that opponents of gay marriage would be vilified and Chief Justice John Robert’s phrase of, “Just who do we think we are?”

“Welcome to the new world. It’s just changed for you Christians. You are going to be persecuted according to the U.S Supreme Court dissents,” Moore said.

Moore in February directed probate judges to not give marriage licenses to same-sex couples, saying they were part of an independent judicial branch and not bound by a federal judge’s order overturning Alabama’s ban on gay marriage.

“Is there such a thing as morality anymore? Sodomy for centuries was declared to be against the laws of nature and nature’s God. And now if you say that in public, and I guess I am, am I violating somebody’s civil rights? Have we elevated morality to immorality? Do we call good, bad? What are we Christians to do?” Moore spoke at the church’s “God and Country Day” on an altar decorated with American flags and beneath a projected image of Jesus on a cross.

“Christians are commanded not to hate their fellow man. They are commanded to love their fellow man … We are to love our fellow man and if we love our fellow man what are we do but tell them when there is sin, because sin is something you are supposed to hate. When they create it as a national right, a fundamental right, what are we do?”

Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said it was a farcical to suggest that that opponents of same-sex marriage would be persecuted, saying the court majority made it clear that the First Amendment rights of opponents would be protected.

“It’s a myth and a scare tactic,” Cohen said.

Cohen said he hoped that Moore would follow the lead of other Alabama politicians who while vehemently disagreeing with the decision, said it must be respected as the law of the land.

“We’ve yet to hear that from Judge Moore,” Cohen said. “Judge Moore would be so much better suited for the pulpit than the bench,” Cohen said.

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