Five years after the death of Paul Hard’s husband, the pain is still raw, but what an onlooker did to him at a news conference in Montgomery on August 8 is to pour salt into that wound.
Hard was speaking on the steps of the courthouse about his late spouse, David Fancher, when one of the Christian protesters standing just a few feet away mocked his grief and disrespected him by laughing at him and interrupting him.
“You can’t have a husband,” the man said, as Hard reminisced about his legal fight to have the State of Alabama recognize their marriage, which happened in February 2015. Fancher died in an car crash a few months after they legally wed in Massachusetts in 2011.
Last week’s news conference was organized by the Human Rights Campaign to coincide with a rally just a few hundred feet away led by Alabama’s antigay — and now suspended — chief justice, Roy Moore. The zealot told his supporters his suspension for defying the Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage equality ruling was a response to his efforts to derail the “agenda of the homosexual movement.”
Hard had no agenda other than to recall the court battles he waged to be recognized as Fancher’s husband, which the protester sought to discredit. A columnist for the Birmingham News, John Archibald, witnessed the exchange, and captured perfectly the outrageousness of that unnamed Christian protester.
“How can one stand under the banner and glory of God and laugh at another man’s death?
“I don’t care what you think of gay people or gay marriage or suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and his efforts to derail the “agenda of the homosexual movement.” Believe what you want.
“I care about the cruelty I saw this week, on the steps of the Alabama Supreme Court. I can’t move beyond it.”