Editorial: Opposing discrimination
In his 1996 dissent in Romer v Evans, Justice Scalia argues:
“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.”
Scalia opines that if a law is unconstitutional because it is based on moral disapproval of homosexuality that laws against murder, beastiality, etc. are also unconstitutional because they lie on a similar moral basis. While the majority suggests Scalia makes no clear linkage between murderous and homosexual conduct, those dissenting argue a very clear association is made. Scalia also ignores the government’s compelling interest in punishing violent and forcible actions that harm others, as these laws are not based in a merely moral objection. Similarly, the government possesses interest in equally defending and protecting one’s right to government sanctioned institutions, like marriage — barring any moral objection.
The comparison to murder, even if implicit, is offensive. Scalia’s remarks are a category error, because they compare the moral characteristics of heinous crimes like murder and bestiality to the consensual actions of two adults. Scalia’s argument recalls a similar false comparison that historically defended a prohibition on interracial marriages. Now that bigoted American narrative is applied to LGBT equality, specifically same-sex marriage. Thus the media and others are generally fair in recognizing and condemning Scalia’s thinly veiled discrimination.
Ray Chao ’15, Daniel Cullen’ 13, Brandon Holt ’15, Ethan Jamnik ’15, Robert Joyce ’13, Evan Larson ’13, Daphna LeGall ’15, Eve Levin ’14, Horton ’15, Connor Mui ’14, Lily Offit ’15, Varun Sharma ’15, Jillian Wilkowski ’15