Peggy Wallace Kennedy, the daughter of segregationist Alabama Gov. George Wallace, penned an op-ed criticizing Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore for attempting to block same-sex marriage in his state.
Moore, a controversial figure in Alabama, issued an order this week barring state judges from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. The chief justice’s anti-gay marriage stance has drawn comparisons to Wallace, but according to the former governor’s daughter, Moore’s actions are worse than her father’s.
"There was no excuse for the politics of exclusion that Governor Wallace promoted in the 1960s. He and other segregationists were on the wrong side of history and caused many Americans to suffer as a result. But my father was a politician first and foremost and as such had every right to ride on the wings of public opinion because his opinion mattered," Wallace Kennedy wrote in the op-ed, published on AL.com on Thursday.
Wallace, who served as governor of the Deep South state during the height of the civil rights movement, famously stood in the doorway at the University of Alabama in 1963 to block two black students from attending class, and vowed "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" in his inaugural address that same year.
Moore, Wallace Kennedy argues, should not take political stances given his role on the state Supreme Court.
"George Wallace was able, by virtue of his office, to take political advantage by publicly promoting a theology of discrimination, but Roy Moore cannot," she wrote. "George Wallace was not confined by a code of ethics that restricted his right to rabble rouse, but Roy Moore is. And most importantly, George Wallace was not required to promote the notion of impartiality and fairness but Roy Moore must."
"The politics of my father and Moore may be worthy of comparison on issues of their character and failure to commit to protecting the civil rights of all, but Moore is the more powerful of the two, for he and his brethren on the bench have the right to have the last word," Wallace Kennedy continued. "Chief Justice Moore should be a protector not a purveyor, and that makes his grandstanding all the more dangerous."
While a Supreme Court ruling made same-sex marriage the law of the land last June, Moore claims his actions are not defying the nation’s highest court.
"Probate judges should be following the orders of the Alabama Supreme Court, the highest state authority," Moore said this week. "If that state authority does find that [the U.S. Supreme Court decision] does have an effect on their order, they will remove the injunction. If they do not, I guess the injunction will continue."
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