Amendment One was approved on Tuesday night by 72 percent of Alabama voters. It bans foreign laws, like Sharia Law, from deciding cases in Alabama courts.
"I put in about three years of work on it," Eric Johnston, a Birmingham attorney who wrote Amendment One for State Sen. Gerald Allen, who sponsored it, told AL.com.
"We were just trying to do something legal, not political," added Johnston.
However, Johnston admitted the law has no legal power either.
"Your constitutional rights are not affected by it," added Johnston. "We've got a religious freedom amendment in Alabama. All it says is pay attention to the religious freedom amendment. Women's rights are compromised by Sharia rights if a lawyer in a custody case says, 'Islam requires you to do this.' It's a help to judges. It doesn't create any new laws."
However, Sharia Law, which is enforced in extreme Islamic countries, has no legal basis or support in the U.S.
"I've been working on religious freedom issues for 30 years," insisted Johnston. "My approach is to protect people's rights and liberties. That's what this is. I did it because I thought it was the right thing. There's no change in law, it's a reminder to the judges that we need to stick to Alabama's laws and public policy."
Greater Birmingham Ministries and the Christian Coalition of Alabama condemned Amendment One.
ChristiansAgainstAmendmentOne.org stated on its website:
While Amendment One may not appear harmful on its face, the overly broad language and definition of “foreign laws” used in the text would have harmful unintended consequences for Alabama’s families and churches. In their rush to write this amendment, Alabama lawmakers left out critically important provisions and exemptions for international adoptions, marriages of Alabama citizens performed overseas, and the religious freedom of churches to be governed by their by-laws and church rules.
"This is a tremendous waste of effort," Alabama Christian Coalition president Dr. Randy Brinson told AL.com. "It's a waste of time, and it costs money. This just creates a whole new headache for people involved in foreign adoptions or who get married in another country.
"I understand the sentiment behind this, but Sharia law is not going to be implemented in Alabama, it just isn't," added Brinson. "And this would just be another stigma for Alabama, another way of saying to other countries: 'We don't respect your laws.'"
Sources: Governing.com, AL.com, ChristiansAgainstAmendmentOne.org (Image Credit: ErgoSum88)