Justice Antonin Scalia has a reputation for making politically incorrect comments about gay people — or as he refers to them, “those who engage in homosexual conduct.”
Scalia and the eight other justices sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court will hear two huge same-sex marriage cases in just a few days, and he’ll probably offend and shock at least a few spectators.
The offensive anti-gay statements Scalia has already made could give us some clues into what kind of observations he might have during the gay marriage arguments next week. Here are the five most memorable ones:
1. “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.”
Scalia made this observation when writing a dissent in Lawrence v. Texas, a case that struck down state laws that criminalize homosexuality. Scalia wanted to let states criminialize sodomy. His dissent suggests he thinks it’s legitimate for Americans to want to keep gays out of their schools and businesses.
2. “Of course it is our moral heritage that one should not hate any human being or class of human beings. 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 …”
This statement came in another dissent: Romer v. Evans, in which the majority found cities were allowed to pass laws that bar discrimination against gay people. Yes, Scalia grouped murder and polygamy along with “homosexual conduct” as the kinds of behavior that people should be allowed to find “rephrehensible.”
3. “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.”
This assertion also comes from Romer v. Evans and appears to suggest that only upper-class people are concerned about gay rights.
4. [Defending laws that would ban benefits for same-sex partners.] “[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.”
This statement also came from Romer v. Evans and shows that Scalia thinks gay couples who live together are just like roommates.
5.“The death penalty? Give me a break. It’s easy … Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state.”
Scalia made this remark at the American Enterprise Institute back in October, calling “homosexual sodomy” an “easy” case to decide because the Constitution doesn’t explicitly protect people’s right to engage in it. It’s pretty easy to guess how he’ll vote in the marriage cases being heard next week.