Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

Just in: Scalia finds objecting to homosexuality is like objecting to murder

Timothy Kincaid

December 11th, 2012

Okay, that’s not news. It’s not even all that interesting.

Unless you consider that a Supreme Court justice is so extremely biased against one segment of the US population that he is incapable of viewing them as having rights at all.

Antonin Scalia was at Princeton (he has a new book to push) where he was introduced by anti-gay activist Robert George:

When questioned by Duncan Hosie ’16, who identified as gay, on his dissent in Lawrence v. Texas — which struck down a Texas anti-sodomy law — Scalia stood behind his decision. Hosie questioned Scalia’s comparison between having a moral objection to sodomy and having a moral objection toward things like bestiality or murder. Scalia defended his comparison as a form of argument.

“If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against these other things?” Scalia asked, explaining his dissent. “It’s a reduction to the absurd … I don’t think it’s necessary but I think it’s effective,” Scalia said, adding dryly, “I’m surprised you weren’t persuaded.”

But the thing about “reductio ad absurdum” is that it is but a hairs breadth from a strawman argument, an argument that argues against what is falsely presented as the opponents position.

At no point have supporters of marriage argued that no moral feelings should be considered. Rather, we assert that not all moral feelings are comparable. For example, it is perfectly possible to have moral feelings against murder (which does actual harm to actual people) and to still find that moral feelings against other people’s religions are not an acceptable basis for law.

A better comparison would have been “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against Catholicism?” But being the Pope’s proxy on the Supreme Court, I dare say that Scalia does not see anti-Catholic sentiment in the same light as anti-gay sentiment.

So, if there were any question, we have our answer. Tony will be voting against us on the rights of gay people to marriage. Or the right of gay people to adoption. Or the right of gay people to inheritance tax equality. Or the right of gay people to to eat oatmeal if it were to appear before him.

Because of his moral objections to murder, you see.

(Do you ever get the feeling that his grandchildren will change their names?)

UPDATE: Log Cabin does a good job analyzing the impact of Scalia’s views.

Comments

POST COMMENT | COMMENT RSS 2.0

Steve
December 11th, 2012 | LINK

Moral feelings alone are NEVER an appropriate basis for a law. You always need an independent reason.

Murder isn’t illegal because it’s immoral, but because it violates the victim’s right to life.

Ben In Oakland
December 11th, 2012 | LINK

can this at all be considered grounds for recusal? Can the other justices recuse this Scaley reptile, or can he only do it himself?

MattNYC
December 11th, 2012 | LINK

The day he recuses himself from a case is the day that he stops accepting gifts from or going on hunting trips with those with business before SCOTUS. He hasn’t recused himself from cases where his SON was involved (as an attorney). He’s the perfect model of corruption that Thomas idolizes (as his wife profits from Hubby’s decisions).

This is the last “human being” (still awaiting proof that he is one) in the world from whom *I* want to take “moral” guidance. Until he subjects himself to “strict scrutiny”, I maintain that he has a tail, cloven hooves, and horns under his disguise.

Sanctimonious, self-righteous sac of pus…

Mark F.
December 11th, 2012 | LINK

Do you have proof that Scalia accepted gifts from anyone with a case before SCOTUS that he didn’t recuse himself from? And so what who he goes hunting with. What does that matter?

gar
December 11th, 2012 | LINK

Scalia, Scalia, Scalia. At least he’s consistent.

I fussed about him in my blog this week: “Gay Law & the Scalia of Justice.”

Lindoro Almaviva
December 11th, 2012 | LINK

Scalia will be remembered as one of the worst judges ever to done that robe. The amount of self entitlement and animus that comes out of his skin is astonishing. Hopefully future presidents will remember him with a “never again” attitude when appointing someone to the SCOTUS

Lord_Byron
December 11th, 2012 | LINK

I’m hoping scalia retires under the Obama administration so someone less biased and corrupt can be appointed to the court. Maybe a young, gay, black, atheist. That is sure to p.o. the GOP.

Richard Rush
December 11th, 2012 | LINK

So, it appears that since Scalia (apparently) has a moral objection to a non-consensual murder of a person of the same sex, it follows that it is also reasonable to have a moral objection to a consensual marriage to a person of the same sex.

I guess I must be missing something. After all, he is a Supreme Court justice, and I’m a nobody.

Houndentenor
December 12th, 2012 | LINK

Yes, it matters that Scalia rules on cases involving people who fly him around on their private jet. That’s unethical.

I don’t know of Scalia taking cash money (just favors and lavish vacations) from people that have cases before SCOTUS, but Thomas has. Okay they funneled it through his wife’s business. Same thing. A few years back they failed to report $100k in income. Really, who forgets about $100,000? Again, unethical.

It does matter and we all know that if the names in these instances were Ginsberg and Breyer, Fox News would scream about it 24/7.

Ryan
December 12th, 2012 | LINK

He’s not making a Straw Man argument. Unfortunately, I often hear liberals claiming “you can’t legislate morality” and it always makes me cringe, because of course we can and do. However, the Lawrence v Texas case was not decided in our favor because the 6 justices thought legislating morality was unconstitutional, but rather that gays were a protected class under the 14th Amendment. So that’s where his argument falls apart. And of course he’s deliberately invoking “gay” and “murder” in the same sentence not because he thinks they’re equivalent, but because he’s an asshole and a troll. May the history books remember his name.

MattNYC
December 12th, 2012 | LINK

Scalia’s Judicial Philosophy can best be summed up:

A forgone (bigoted) conclusion in search of legal justification, no matter how tenuous, obscure or nebulous. And written with as much anger as possible at the ninnies who are “just too dumb to see what he sees.”

If he sat on his porch and spewed his views at passers-by, someone would call the mental ward. But Ronald F-ing Reagan dressed him in a robe and inflicted him upon us. For that alone, “St. Ronnie” should be subjected to every last torture method in Hades…

markanthony
December 12th, 2012 | LINK

Scalia will have a complicated legacy certainly. However in this case, he might be showing his hand. This type of language isn’t going to win over Kennedy or Roberts, and certainly not Ginsburg or Breyer. Sounds like he is writing his angry dissent rather than a majority opinion.

MattNYC
December 12th, 2012 | LINK

After some sleep, it occurred to me that what he does is the same thing that the White House did with the misleading Intel in the drive to war in Iraq. I believe the intelligence community calls it “stovepiping.”

customartist
December 12th, 2012 | LINK

Ryan,

You cannot legislate morality IF the justification for said legislation is Un-Constitutional, to be most accurate.

Witholding rights can only be done to citizens who have broken the law.

Not being snippy.

Ryan
December 12th, 2012 | LINK

Consumerist, I agree. And I believe that banning gay marriage is unconstitutional. I hope that came across in my first post. But usually I only hear the first part from pro-gay rights people, the “you can’t base laws on morals” part, which to me seems like a terrible argument, and plainly untrue, as many of our laws are just that.

Victor
December 12th, 2012 | LINK

Ryan,

Check the Lawrence case. It doesn’t actually recognize gays as a suspect class under 14th Amendment. If it did, we’d probably already have marriage equality throughout the country. The majority (5) recognized the fundamental right to consensual same-sex sex.

And if you are talking of 6 Justices, O’Connor would have been fine if sodomy was banned for everyone, but it wasn’t. As far as I remember, her argument was that the law targeted gays and not heterosexuals.

Timothy Kincaid
December 12th, 2012 | LINK

I guess I must be missing something. After all, he is a Supreme Court justice, and I’m a nobody.

And yet … if you told me it was raining and Scalia told me that the sun was shining, I’d carry an umbrella.

Robert
December 12th, 2012 | LINK

Victor, the anti-sodomy laws were not just for gay people, they were on the books for everyone. They were mostly only enforced on gay people. And I think the law was struck down because it prohibited consenual private activity between two consenting adults, which is an invasion of their privacy.

Victor
December 12th, 2012 | LINK

Robert,

Actually, the Texas statute was specifically directed at same-sex conduct. This was the reason that Justice O’Connor, who actually was part of the Bowers majority (in finding criminalization of same-sex sex constitutional), did NOT join the Lawrence majority in overruling Bowers. So, she did not agree that there is a right to privacy. What she did agree with was that Texas statute was unconstitutional, because it targeted same-sex couples only.

Text is right here: http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/539/558/case.html

My point to Ryan was that there was no finding of a “protected class” in Lawrence. What there was – was finding of a fundamental right to privacy and an Equal Protection discrimination, but no finding of a protected class.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.