The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
on Tuesday filed an ethics complaint against the Alabama Supreme
Court justice who called for state courts to resist the Supreme
Court's ruling striking down gay marriage bans in all 50 states.
Last week, Justice Tom Parker appeared
on Focal Point, a radio program hosted by Bryan Fischer of the
Christian conservative American Family Association (AFA).
Parker told Fischer that the Supreme
Court ruling was not needed since gay men and lesbians are not being
denied their constitutional rights. He said that everyone is free to
marry someone of the opposite sex.
He went on to call on state courts to
defy the ruling in order to foment a “revival” that will return
America to its founding principles.
“The states should be a check on the
federal government, and the proper organ within a state to do that
versus the U.S. Supreme Court would be a state supreme court,”
said. “Now, I doubt that it would be a blanket defiance of all
jurisdiction on the U.S. Supreme Court, but in regards to the
Obergefell decision where it's clear that they jumped outside
of the precedents in order to impose their will on this country, that
yes, resisting that decision could maybe start a revival of what we
need in this country and return to our original founding principles.”
A case on the issue is currently before
the Alabama Supreme Court.
“Tom Parker has a choice: He can be a
judge or he can be an advocate, but he can't be both,” SPLC
President Richard Cohen said in a press release. “His comments
were clearly unethical and driven by his ideological agenda, not his
“It's incredible that Tom Parker, a
supreme court justice, would lend legitimacy to a bigot like Bryan
Fischer by appearing on his show,” Cohen added, a reference to
Fischer's long history of homophobic and racist comments.
The SPLC has also filed a similar
complaint against Justice Roy Moore. Parker, a former aide to Moore,
once worked at the Foundation for Moral Law, which was founded by
Moore and is currently headed by his wife.
Moore violated judicial ethics in calls to ignore gay marriage
ruling, SPLC says.)