An openly gay Princeton University freshman put Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on the spot during a Q&A period on Monday.
Duncan Hosie questioned Scalia about his dissent in Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 Supreme Court ruling that struck-down anti-sodomy laws and made same-sex sexual activity legal nationwide.
In his dissent, Scalia argued that the court should defend laws forbidding acts that are “immoral and unacceptable.” He lumped same-sex marriage and gay sex in with things like bestiality, incest, and even murder.
Scalia also wrote that anti-sodomy laws required “little discussion” because there isn’t “any society” that accepts homosexuality as legal and moral. He accused the six justices who struck down anti-sodomy laws as being unaware that acceptance of gay culture is obviously not “mainstream.” (Coincidentally, a new poll shows Scalia’s dead wrong.)
When questioned by the gay student on Monday about his fervent anti-gay stance, Scalia brusquely defended his comparison of homosexuality and murder:
It’s a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the ‘reduction to the absurd.’ If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?…I’m surprised you aren’t persuaded.
Hardly a way to justify bigotry, “reduction to the absurd” (reductio ad absurdum) simply means that you try to prove something is true (e.g., homosexuality is immoral) by demonstrating the absurdity of it not being true. On Scalia’s part, he argues that gay sex is wrong because people think it’s wrong, like people think murder’s wrong.
Other, more reasonable, examples of reduction to the absurd might include:
- All Republicans favor the rich, otherwise they wouldn’t hold middle class tax cuts hostage to negotiate cuts for the top 2 percent.
- Scalia is a repressed homosexual, otherwise he would stop gay-bashing already and come out of the closet.
More people than not clapped for Hosie’s question, reported ABC News. Hosie said afterward that he believes Scalia’s opinions “dehumanize” gays.
Scalia applied, but was not accepted, to Princeton, reports The Daily Princetonian. More importantly, Scalia’s lack of impartiality on same-sex marriage issues is a clear violation of his judicial oath. His blinding homophobia is also an impediment to justice, given that the Supreme Court will hear two cases challenging the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act next year.
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