Roy Moore has never been one to shy away from controversy, and in an interview with With All Due Respect on Tuesday, Alabama's Chief Justice stayed true to form when discussing the looming battle between the United States Supreme Court and his home state over whether to legalize gay marriage.
When asked whether he was taking inspiration from segregationist Governor George Wallace by calling on local municipalities to ignore a federal judge's ruling that Alabama start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Moore demurred.
"All persons have a right to marry a person of the opposite sex according to the constitution of Alabama Sanctity of Marriage amendment, and that's just the way it is, passed by the people of Alabama, some 81 percent," Moore said.
Pressed on why he was choosing to defy a federal court on the issue of gay marriage, in particular, Moore contended that he was simply following the "rules of federal procedure."
"I'm not opposing federal courts," Moore argued. "I'm simply saying that they've got to stick within the bounds of their own federal rules."
On the question of whether disregarding a federal court order was acceptable behavior for the state's supreme court justice, Moore didn't hesitate.
"It is not only OK, there is no rule that you must regard it. The federal courts and the state courts have equal authority to interpret the constitution, under our rules today in the United States," Moore said.
Moore did grant, however, that if the U.S. Supreme Court does rule that gay marriage is constitutional, thereby legalizing the practice nationwide, that lower courts like his would be obliged to follow their ruling.
"The Supreme Court authority is the only arbiter of a difference of opinion between federal and state courts, and it would bind state courts," Moore said, but added that, in his view, the high court still did not have the power to "re-define marriage."
On a personal note, Moore told host Mark Halperin that he has "had many friends that are homosexual," but that he would not attend a same-sex wedding.