MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Senate was opened with a prayer on Tuesday that sought forgiveness for the nation’s embrace of sexual perversion.
“Forgive us for allowing sexual perversions to be considered as normal,” prayed David Gonnella, pastor of Magnolia Springs Baptist Church in Theodore.
He was later approached by Mike Cason of AL.com, who asked if his words pertained to homosexuality. Gonnella said that he was referring to anything that God considers an abomination.
However, he noted that he disagrees with January’s federal court ruling surrounding the state’s Sanctity of Marriage Act and supports Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s efforts to uphold the state Constitution. The amendment at issue, passed in 2006 with 81 percent of the vote, states that “[m]arriage is inherently a unique relationship between a man and a woman.”
“The people of Alabama voted that marriage should be between one man and one woman and that should be what is done,” Gonnella said.
As previously reported, in 2013, two lesbians in the state sued Gov. Robert Bentley, Attorney General Luther Strange and Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis—among others—in an attempt to overturn the law after one of the women was denied from adopting the other woman’s child. U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade ruled in favor of the women, stating that the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Act “harms the children of same-sex couples.”
But Moore found the ruling to be tyrannical, and forbid probate judges throughout the state from issuing same-sex licenses.
“Lower federal courts are without authority to impose their own interpretation of federal constitutional law upon the state courts,” he wrote in a statewide memo. “Not only is the Mobile federal court acting without constitutional authority, but it is doing so in a manner inconsistent with the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
Moore also called upon Gov. Bentley to uphold the state Constitution and reject the ruling. He additionally pointed to the Scriptures in his plea, as Jesus declared in Mark 10:6-9 that “from the beginning of creation God made them male and female, [and] for this cause, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh.”
The high court justice noted a U.S. Supreme Court ruling from 1885, which was reiterated in 1908, which stated that the foundation for marriage and family is “the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony.”
But Bentley, a former Sunday school teacher and elder, said that he felt he must uphold the ruling despite his disagreement with it. Bentley’s pastor, Gil McKee of First Baptist Church Tuscaloosa, has been encouraging Bentley that it is the Christian’s duty to obey God rather than men, just as God’s people did in Scripture.
“There’s nothing grey about this issue—not if you’re going to go with what God says, and God has made it clear that marriage is between one man and one woman, period, and that settles it,” he said in a sermon in February. “The issue is, are we going to go with God, or are we going to go with somebody else?”