So here we are, just before Christmas, and the Supreme Court has both the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA] and Prop H8 in its crosshairs. This could be big for the marriage equality advocates, no? Except we have Antonin Scalia, a justice on the court, who has made it quite clear time and again that The Gays don't deserve no stinking equality.
There's no denying that Justice Scalia is the Supreme Court’s most outspoken opponent of gay rights; he led the dissent to the two major gay rights decisions of his tenure on the Court, the decisions to strike down Texas’ criminal sodomy law and to overturn Colorado’s ban on local anti-discrimination measures. And, when he's not judging us from the bench he's judging us in his speech:
- He has compared bans on homosexuality to bans on murder: Yesterday, Scalia asked a gay law student, “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?” He says he wasn't comparing the two, but isn't that exactly what he was doing?
- He has compared bans on homosexuality to bans on polygamy and animal cruelty: In his dissent to the Colorado case, Romer v. Evans, Scalia wrote, “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, the same sort of moral disapproval that produced the centuries old criminal laws that we held constitutional in Bowers.” For the record, homosexuality is not a "conduct" it's an orientation.
- He defends employment and housing discrimination: In his dissent to Lawrence v Texas, Scalia went even further, justifying all kinds of discrimination against gays and lesbians: “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. They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive. The Court views it as ‘discrimination’ which it is the function of our judgments to deter.” And what about folks who wish to protect themselves from people like Scalia? The more I read about Scalia, the last word that I think should be associated with him is "justice".
- He says decision on “homosexual sodomy” was “easy” because it's justified by long history of anti-gay discrimination: In a talk at the American Enterprise Institute earlier this year, Scalia dismissed decisions on abortion, the death penalty and “homosexual sodomy” as “easy”: “The death penalty? Give me a break. It’s easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion,” he said. “Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state.”
- He says domestic partners have no more rights than “long time roommates”: In his dissent in Romer, Scalia dismissed the idea that a law banning benefits for same-sex domestic partners would be discriminatory, saying the law “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.” All the more reason he should recuse himself from hearing DOMA and Prop H8 issues; his mind, or lack thereof, is already made up.
- He says gay rights are a concern of “the elite”: In his Romer dissent, Scalia lashes out at the majority that has upheld gay rights: “This Court has no business imposing upon all Americans the resolution favored by the elite class from which the Members of this institution are selected, pronouncing that 'animosity' toward homosexuality is evil. “ Except the fact that The Gays are all Americans, elite to lower class, highly-educated to tradesmen; blue collar, white collar; priest collar. It isn't an elitist issue, it's an inequality issue, and that should concern every one.
- He accuses those who disagree with him of supporting the “homosexual agenda”: Lifting a talking point straight from the far right, Scalia accused the majority in Lawrence of being in the thrall of the “homosexual agenda”: “Today’s opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct.” As a lifelong gay man, I would like someone, anyone, to show me what the Gay Agenda is, exactly. I mean, I think its equality, but apparently Scalia thinks it's something sinister.
With his every word, his every decision, it's quite clear that Justice Scalia has already made his mind up on the any issue regarding LGBT people. We deserve discrimination in housing and employment and, well, walking down the street. We're no better than murderers or cat beaters. He's said it, and said it again, it's "easy" to vote against equality.
Scalia needs to recuse himself from ever being part of any discussion on LGBT rights, marriage equality, LGBT discrimination, because his mind is already closed.