Have too Much Power in Social Issues Scalia Says
September 29, 2004
By Michael J. Meade, 365Gay.com Newscenter, Boston Bureau
Court Justice Antonin Scalia says social issues such as gay marriage and
abortion should not be decided by the courts.
Speaking to students at Harvard University’s Kennedy
School of Government, Scalia said that the American judicial system has bee
turned into a quagmire as a result of “abstract moralizing” from the
“What I am questioning is the propriety, indeed the
sanity, of having value-laden decisions such as these made for the entire
society ... by judges,” Scalia said.
In his speech Scalia did not mention specifically gay
marriage but left little doubt to the intent of his remarks.
“I believe in liberal democracy, which is a democracy
that worries about the tyranny of the majority, but it is the majority itself
that must draw the lines,” he said.
As an example, he cited the women’s suffrage movement,
which he said resulted from the will of the people, not a court.
Later, in a question and answer period with students he
was asked if he had any gay friends “and if not whether you’d like to be
“I probably do have some gay friends,” Scalia
replied. “I’ve never pressed the point.”
Scalia said his personal views on social issues have no
bearing on his courtroom decisions.
However, his positions on gay rights issues that have
come before the high court, show an extreme conservative view.
In the case that overturned sodomy laws Scalia dissented
from the majority writing, “The court has largely signed on to the so-called
homosexual agenda.” He took the unusual step of reading his dissent from the
“The court has taken sides in the culture war,”
While the sodomy case was before the court he was the
keynote speaker at a meeting of the Urban Family Council in Philadelphia, a
group that while not a party in the sodomy case was fighting that city’s
ordinance allowing benefits for the partners of gay and lesbian municipal
Last October he ridiculed the court’s majority decision
overturning the Texas sodomy law in a speech before an extreme right wing
group, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
Legislation is currently before Congress that would
remove federal judges from hearing cases involving same-sex marriage.
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