Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died today in West Texas and the reaction on Social Media, in liberal circles, was swift and merciless. One of the most succinct and funny comments came from @ztbrown on Twitter who said,
“Make sure Death knows we’re willing to throw in [Justice Clarence] Thomas if we can get Bowie back.”
So, needless to say, no love lost here. After 3 decades on the bench Scalia has ruled against many causes but perhaps none moreso than gay rights.
From Mother Jones, here are some of the lowlights of Scalia’s anti-gay comments:
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there was a time when it was a popular thing and probably annoyed a lot of communities, and then almost all of them repealed those laws,” Scalia asked the attorney fighting the Texas law.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?”
We Just Don’t Like You
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.”
Laws Banning Gay Sex are like 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[.]”
…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.
Homosexual Couples Are Like Roommates
Not content to analogize laws singling out people on the basis of sexual orientation to laws banning murder, Scalia suggested in his dissent in Romer that the relationships of same-sex partners were comparable to those of roommates.
“[Colorado’s ban] prohibits special treatment of homosexuals, and nothing more,” Scalia wrote. “[I]t would prevent the State or any municipality from making death benefit payments to the ‘life partner’ of a homosexual when it does not make such payments to the long time roommate of a nonhomosexual employee.”
First They Came for the Womanizers…
Scalia’s dissent in Romer is a long lament over the supposed “special rights” being granted to people on the basis of sexual orientation. In one section, he complains that banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in hiring amounts to granting gays and lesbians special treatment that Republicans, adulterers, and Cubs haters don’t get. He writes
“[A job] interviewer may refuse to offer a job because the applicant is a Republican; because he is an adulterer; because he went to the wrong prep school or belongs to the wrong country club; because he eats snails; because he is a womanizer; because she wears real animal fur; or even because he hates the Chicago Cubs.”
So, Have Gays and Lesbians Tried NOT Having Homosexual Sex?
During oral arguments in Lawrence, the attorney challenging the Texas law argued that it was
“fundamentally illogical” for straight people to be able to have non-procreative sex without being harassed by the state while same-sex couples did not have the right to be “free from a law that says you can’t have any sexual intimacy at all. It doesn’t say you can’t have—you can’t have any sexual intimacy. It says you cannot have sexual intimacy with a person of the same sex.”
Later on in his dissent, Scalia argued that Americans’ constitutional right to equal protection under the law wasn’t violated by the Texas law for that reason. “Men and women, heterosexuals and homosexuals, are all subject to [Texas’] prohibition of deviate sexual intercourse with someone of the same sex.”
So, Ronald Regan‘s appointee was on the bench 30 years making these conservative judgements and homophobic statements. It could be argued that NO ONE has done more damage to gay rights in that time than this one man. So, it goes without saying that the GOP will block President Obama‘s appointee in the hopes that President Trump or Cruz might do the same so of future damage. NOW do you ge why this election is more crucial than ever? I do.
(via Mother Jones)