The Democratic Party candidate for state Supreme Court chief justice in Alabama, nominated by his state party earlier this year, now may be booted from the general election ballot because his personal beliefs are at odds the national party’s endorsement of same-sex marriage.
Bradley Davidson, executive director of the Alabama Democrats, told WND that a panel is scheduled to hear arguments Friday over a decision that could result in the removal of Harry Lyon from the Democrats’ list of nominees in the 2012 general election.
Lyon was the only Democratic candidate who surfaced for the position of Supreme Court chief justice, which is an elected slot Alabama. The GOP contender is the famed Ten Commandments judge, Roy Moore, who, according to polls, is leading by a significant margin.
Davidson told WND there are rule and procedure issues that need to be addressed with regard to Lyon’s candidacy. But Lyon told WND the problem arose because of his statements on his personal online social media page opposing same-sex marriage.
One statement said: “I want to make the following perfectly clear: Neither I nor Lucy Baxley believe in same sex marriages as does our Democrat President Obama’s personal opinion. Alabama has always supported our churchs (sic), the rule of law and common decency.”
Said another post: “If anyone on my friends list on Facebook believes in faggotry, please delist me.” And yet another said, “God did not start out with Adam and Steve but Adam and Eve … you freaks.”
Lyon told WND he has a colorful history, and the state party admitted allowing him to re-enter the party in 2005 after he had been removed earlier for various issues. But he said he believes in salvation by faith in Christ, as written in the New Testament, and he tries to follow the Bible’s other commandments.
Dean Young, the chief campaign fundraiser for Moore’s campaign, told WND that the state Democratic Party appears to be trying to march “in lockstep” with the national party, which recently adopted a platform advocating for same-sex marriage.
“They’re pushing the homosexual agenda,” he said. “If they’ve got a candidate like Harry Lyons, who says he doesn’t agree, they’re going to try to replace him with someone who does agree with the homosexual agenda.”
Lyons argued that his statements were on a personal social media page, and they are his own opinions.
He told WND that the state party also is using the issue to remove him, because the Democrats believe Moore might be vulnerable. He defeated two stronger, better-funded candidates without a runoff in the GOP primary. So Lyons said state Democrats believe he might be beatable in the general election, and they have a different candidate they want to run against Moore.
Whatever the real reason, Lyon said he would go to the Friday hearing and tell panel members, “We’re going to have the circus, and I get to see the clowns.”
The state party recently cleared Lyon of a complaint about his financial disclosures when the state determined he was in compliance. He suggested the complaint meant state Democrats were looking for any reason to push him off the ballot.
But he emphasized the significance of his position on same-sex marriage and the fact it aligns with the citizens of his state.
He recalled a friend who campaigned for circuit judge several years ago who repeatedly was confronted about whether he was loyal to the national Democrats in their support of same-sex marriage. His friend lost the race as a result.
But Lyon warned that voters could generate a backlash against the state party if he is removed from the ballot, especially over an issue like homosexual behavior.
“I don’t know of any law or rule that a candidate has got to agree with the president … as part of an issue that’s out there in the country,” he said.
While same-sex marriage may be a winning issue in New York or California, he suggested, “It’s not here in Alabama.”
Davidson told WND the hearing Friday is a “show-cause” hearing in which Lyon will be asked to justify his positions and statements. A five-member panel from the party’s executive board will hear the arguments.
He said he didn’t know how members of the party would react to Lyon’s statements nor what they would recommend.
“The full executive board will be on hand in the event that Mr. Lyon is disqualified in order to reach a decision on what next steps to take,” he said.
Davidson told the Montgomery Advertiser the hearing would consider a number of issues over “a lack of self-control and bizarre behavior.”
“He’s defamed just about everyone he would come in contact with as a member of the Alabama Supreme Court,” Davidson told the newspaper
The party complaint against Lyon alleges he’s in violation of the “Statement of Principles” of the party, including that “the people are entitled to honest and ethical government” and “that the people are entitled to honest and ethical government.”
NPR reported days ago the 2012 Democratic Party’s platform committee met and approved a plan to endorse same-sex “marriages.”
The Gadsden Times said Lyon wanted to position himself as a critic of homosexual marriage so that Moore would not be able to use the issue against him in the race for the office of chief justice.
WND reported earlier on Moore’s rebound in the state. It was nine years ago when he, as chief justice, fought a battle over a stone monument presenting the Ten Commandments in a state court building in Alabama. He was removed from office by a state panel after a federal judge ordered him to take down the monument.
But he coordinated a stunning upset victory over two better-funded competitors for the GOP nomination for the office, incumbent Chuck Malone and former state Attorney General Charlie Graddick.
According to a poll taken just days ago, Moore leads Lyon by 21 points, 54 percent to 33 percent. The poll surveyed 600 Alabama voters.
He’s built his strong support with endorsements that include one even from the Democratic Alabama AFL-CIO.
State President Al Henley told Real Clear Politics it’s the first time the union group has backed Moore, and Moore was the only Republican picked by the group this year.
Henley cited Moore’s record as a circuit judge in Gadsden and as an Alabama Supreme Court justice from 2001-2003 of treating the average person fairly in court.
“Throughout my campaign I have told people I would not bring back a monument, because it would confuse the people about the issue. But I will acknowledge the sovereignty of God in everything I do,” Moore told WND.