LGBT Supreme Court

The Seven Worst Things Scalia Has Said About Marriage Equality

Adam Serwer has the list. Here are some highlights of the awfulness:

“Flagpole Sitting”

What’s a little frat-boy humor between justices? In 2003, during oral arguments in Lawrence v. Texas, the case challenging a Texas law that criminalized homosexual sex, Scalia came up with a tasteless analogy to illustrate the issue. “[S]uppose all the States had laws against flagpole sitting at one time, you know, there was a time when it was a popular thing and probably annoyed a lot of communities, and then almost all of them repealed those laws,” Scalia asked the attorney fighting the Texas law. “Does that make flagpole sitting a fundamental right?”

Let’s throw gay people in jail because some people don’t like them

In his dissent in Lawrence, Scalia argued that moral objections to homosexuality were sufficient justification for criminalizing gay sex. “Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home,” he wrote. “They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive.” Some people think obesity is immoral and destructive—perhaps New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg should have imprisoned people who drink sugary sodas rather than trying to limit the size of their cups.

Laws banning homosexual sex are like laws banning murder

In his dissent in the 1996 case Romer v. Evans, which challenged Colorado’s ban on any local jurisdictions outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, Scalia brought out an analogy that he’s used to attack liberals and supporters of LGBT rights for years since. “Of course it is our moral heritage that one should not hate any human being or class of human beings,” Scalia wrote, in the classic prebuttal phrasing of someone about to say something ludicrous. “But I had thought that one could consider certain conduct reprehensible—murder, for example, or polygamy, or cruelty to animals—and could exhibit even ‘animus’ toward such conduct. Surely that is the only sort of ‘animus’ at issue here: moral disapproval of homosexual conduct[.]” It’s true that people generally disapprove of murder, but there’s more going on in laws banning murder than mere disfavor—the rights of the person being murdered, for example.

…And like laws banning child pornography, incest and bestiality

Scalia decided to take the “moral disapproval” argument up a notch in his dissent in Lawrence, writing that the Texas ban on homosexual sex “undeniably seeks to further the belief of its citizens that certain forms of sexual behavior are ‘immoral and unacceptable,’” like laws against “fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality, and obscenity.” Scalia later tees up “prostitution” and “child pornography” as other things he thinks are banned simply because people disapprove of them.

He’s truly a wretched man. How old is he again?

  • muselet

    The Right considers Antonin Scalia a legal genius. Go figure.


  • bphoon

    Each and every one of the conservative/religious arguments against homosexuality is predicated on the idea that it is a choice, a “lifestyle” that is “practiced”. Researchers are zeroing in on being able to prove a genetic/physiological cause for homosexuality but haven’t gotten there yet. For the time being, I have to say that every gay person I’ve spoken to about this–without exception–has told me that being gay wasn’t a choice, it’s simply who they are. In fact, several have told me that if they’d had a choice to make, growing up homosexual in the US wouldn’t have been the one they’d have made–it’s a pretty hard way to live in this society, especially for a kid.

    When someone has gone off on how abhorrent the “homosexual lifestyle” is, I simply say this: So, if sexual orientation is a matter of choice, when did you make the conscious decision to “become heterosexual”? I haven’t gotten any intelligible answers yet.

    • Draxiar

      Neither have I. *salute*

    • Victor_the_Crab

      Ask Scalia that question, and smoke would come out of his ears right before his head would explode.

  • LeShan Jones

    I said after he mouthed off on the voting rights act that he was unfit to serve as a Justice, clearly the man has no idea what his job as a justice is supposed to be. He’s supposed to be deciding cases based on the Constitution, but he clearly has never read the Constitution. I imagine there is a conservatard version of the constitution (which is an amalgomation of the ten commandments and the Declaration of independance), that is his go-to on that document, because he sure as hell isn’t going to the ACTUALL Constitution.

  • Draxiar

    Jabba the Scalia needs to retire.

    • bphoon

      I’d be awfully surprised if he ever does. Rarely does a person who is convinced he is infallible decide it’s time to hang it up.

      • D_C_Wilson

        Nope. He’ll stay there until he dies. And even then, if a democrat is president, he’ll leave instructions to have his corpse propped up in the bench to create the illusion that he’s still alive.