Republicans in Alabama will go to the polls Tuesday to choose their party’s candidate for the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he became President Donald Trump’s Attorney General. The incumbent candidate is Luther Strange, the former state Attorney General who has been holding Sessions’ seat on an interim basis — and who has Trump’s endorsement.
But the frontrunner is Roy Moore, a 70-year-old former Chief Justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court. He was suspended from his post last year, after bucking the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. On his campaign website, Moore says he was “upholding the sanctity of marriage as between one man and one woman.”
That’s one of his tamer statements. Here are some of his more incendiary remarks.
Roy Moore said homosexuality is tantamount to bestiality and should be illegal
Earlier this week, CNN dredged up an 12-year-old video of Moore on C-SPAN2, in which pundit Bill Press grilled Moore on his views on homosexuality.
“Homosexual conduct should be illegal, yes,” Moore said.
He then made a remark likening homosexuality to having sex with animals.
“Do you know that bestiality, the relationship between man and beast is prohibited in every state?” he asked.
“You mean homosexuality is same thing as bestiality?” Press replied.
“It is a moral precept upon which this country was founded,” Moore told him.
He said ‘reds and yellows’ aren’t getting along
In a campaign speech last weekend, Moore decried the divisions between Americans today, lamenting that “we have blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting. What’s going to unite us? What’s going to bring us back together? A president? A Congress? No. It’s going to be God.”
“Reds” is historically a pejorative term for Native Americans and “yellows” is the same for people of Asian ancestry. Moore later defended his remarks on Twitter.
Moore suggested gay people shouldn’t be allowed to have children
In a custody dispute in 2002, when Moore was Chief Justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, he ruled in favor of the allegedly abusive ex-husband of a woman who had since come out as a lesbian. The reason? “Homosexual behavior is crime against nature, an inherent evil, and an act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it,” he wrote in his opinion, concluding that one’s homosexuality alone “would render him or her an unfit parent.”
He falsely said Barack Obama isn’t an American citizen
Last month, CNN reported that Moore was one of the many voices in the chorus of the “birther” movement — people who wrongly believe that former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
“Now, I haven’t seen one thing in the press about this, and yet the President of the United States will not produce his birth certificate,” Moore said in 2009. “That’s very strange indeed. Why we don’t hear about it — because the press won’t report it.”
Moore wrote anti-abortion poetry
The aspiring Senator is also an amateur poet, as he demonstrated at a campaign rally last week. The website Talking Points Memo reports that he spoke out against the moral decline of the U.S., claiming that “we have child abuse, we have sodomy, we have murder, we have rape, we have all kind of immoral things happening because we have forgotten God.”
He then broke out in verse:
“Babies piled in dumpsters, abortion on demand,
Oh, sweet land of liberty, your house is on the sand.”
He called Islam a ‘false religion’
In a meeting with Alabama Republicans in July, Moore was asked by one attendee about Sharia law in the U.S. (The notion that Islamic law is a threat to the U.S. judicial system is a relatively old conspiracy theory.)
“I’ve seen a lot in the news about Sharia law, and Muslims demanding break times to do their prayers and wanting to have their laws oversee our laws, and I just wonder how you plan to deal with that,” the woman asked him, according to the Huffington Post.
“False religions like Islam who teach that you must worship this way are completely opposite with what our First Amendment stands for,” he replied.