In a recent interview with gay news site 365gay.com, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) said he hopes the Supreme Court takes up the issue of gay marriage — but not with its current conservative makeup, led by “that homophobe Antonin Scalia.” Not surprisingly, Scalia’s defenders at Fox News decried Frank’s comments, insisting that Scalia doesn’t attack the gay community directly. “Homophobe is a really strong word,” scolded Fox Supreme Court reporter Shannon Bream. Other Fox hosts leaped to Scalia’s defense:
MEGYN KELLY: In defense of Justice Scalia, in that dissent Lawrence v. Texas, he wasn’t necessarily harsh, he just made clear his position…on homosexual sodomy.
BREAM: There was no direct attack by Justice Scalia on the homosexual community, nothing along those lines. It was a very technical legal argument.
Sean Hannity insisted Scalia is “one of the most brilliant jurists of all time. Absolutely!” Watch a compilation:
The truth is that Scalia’s animus toward gay people is clear. During oral arguments for the 2003 case Lawrence v. Texas — in which the Court struck down Texas’ law making gay sex illegal — Scalia suggested that being gay was somehow contagious, and that a teacher could “induce” a student toward homosexuality:
Rehnquist wonders whether, if these laws are stuck down, states can have laws “preferring non-homosexuals to homosexuals as kindergarten teachers.” Smith replies that there would need to be some showing that gay kindergarten teachers produce harm to children. Scalia offers one: “Only that children might be induced to follow the path to homosexuality.”
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.”
And in his dissent for Lawrence v. Texas, Scalia said that laws against gay sex served “the same interest” as laws against incest and bestiality:
The Texas statute undeniably seeks to further the belief of its citizens that certain forms of sexual behavior are “immoral and unacceptable,” Bowers, supra, at 196–the same interest furthered by criminal laws against fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality, and obscenity.
Scalia frequently employs the rhetoric of the extreme right. Sounding like a conspiracy theorist, Scalia said it was “preposterous” to categorize gay people as “politically unpopular” when they are a group “which enjoys enormous influence in American media and politics.” And concluding his Lawrence dissent, Scalia blasted the Court’s majority for having “signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda.”