Alabama’s only openly gay legislator says she’s irritated to hear fellow state officials defend Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who was accused Thursday of romantically pursuing minors when he was in his 30s.
“I hate to say this, but men need to shut up defending him and listen to the women's pain,” said Rep. Patricia Todd, a Democrat who Moore has dismissed in the past as a “liberal lesbian legislator.”
“The cover seems to be ‘if it is true’ and I am so disappointed in my Republican peers who continue to support him,” Todd told the Washington Examiner. “We have seen this too many times, a so-called Christian falling from that pedestal.”
Todd said she knows their reaction would be different "if this had been Obama."
A long list of Republicans in the U.S. Senate has said Moore should stand down “if” the allegations are true, and some Alabama politicians said they would support him even if the claims are true.
Moore, suspended last year as Alabama’s supreme court chief justice for instructing authorities to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage, says four women who spoke to the Washington Post are lying.
One woman claimed she was 14 years old when Moore, at the time 32, initiated sexual contact in 1979. Three other women said he asked them on dates when they were 16 to 18 years old between 1979 and 1982. Each accuser came forward by name, but Moore called the allegations defamatory “fake news.”
Todd sees the accusations as part of a pivotal time for women and associated them with the Women’s March on Washington and recent series of high-profile sexual misconduct allegations against prominent men.
“We are witnessing women finding their voice and shouting together for change,” she said.
Some Republican politicians within Alabama have defended Moore regardless of the claims’ accuracy.
Alabama state auditor Jim Ziegler told the Washington Examiner that “Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.” State legislator Ed Henry, also a Republican, told a local publication the accusers should be prosecuted.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merril told the Washington Examiner that “Judge Moore’s statement says he is not guilty and I have every reason right now to believe him,” citing the fact that the claims did not emerge earlier. Merril said it’s impossible for Republicans to swap candidates ahead of the Dec. 12 election against Democrat Doug Jones.