Say there were a prominent Republican Congressman, a committee chairman to boot, and he went on a tear about a certain Supreme Court Justice, calling him anti-Christian because of his opinions on the separation of church and state.Â When he was faulted for his inflammatory rhetoric, he dug in and repeated the slur.Â Â The media would have a field day with this guy, calling him an extremist, possibly a conspiracy-monger.Â We would read regular editorials in the New York Times denouncing him.
Well, we’ve got something similar with a leading Democrat.Â Ol’ Barney Frank just can’t let go of his assertion that Justice Antonin Scalia is a “homophobe.”Â Now, the unhappy Congressman has taken to the pages of the Huffington Post to defend his slur.Â And only conservatives are calling him on his meanness.
And get this, in attacking the level-headed Justice, Barney calls his opinions “angry” and “virulent.”Â My, my, Barney, you sound like a blogger having fun with his adversaries rather than a Congressman addressing a Justice of the Supreme Court.Â (Yet, there is no spirit of sport in the tone of your post.)
My view that Justice Scalia is prejudiced against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people is based, not on his position on marriage, but entirely on the angry minority opinions he wrote in two Supreme Court cases in which the majority held that gay and lesbian people had certain rights against discrimination regarding private consensual sex and political activity.
Actually, when you read the opinions, you don’t find the anger Barney so eagerly wants to find.Â Now, I don’t agree with Scalia’s opinion in Lawrence which which the mean-spirited man from Massachusetts excerpts, but I do find a well-thought out opinion.Â Wrong in my view, but well argued.
Indeed, much of what Scalia says is beyond dispute for those who have bothered to study the treatment of gay people in society over the generations.Â We may not like the historical record, but it’s there.
Barney even chooses to excerpt an passage from Scalia’s dissent in Romer v. Evans to show the Justice is a “homophobe” when a simple reading of the text shows the exact opposite:
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.
Yeah, I would rather he had not compared homosexual conduct to murder, but he makes clear that he believes it wrong to hate people just because they’re gay.Â It’s the conduct that that he believes the constitution allows states to punish.
It is fine and honorable to object to the opinion of a Supreme Court Justice.Â It’s quite another thing to engage in name-calling.Â But, Barney Frank has made name-calling his practice when dealing with conservatives and conservative ideas he doesn’t like.
I suggest he tone down his rhetoric.Â But, he knows that the media lets him get away with conduct for which it would excoriate a conservative.
UPDATE:Â Tom Maguire agrees:
I don’t find support for Frank’s assertion that Scalia believes homosexuality “deserves” to be treated with disapproval; I find a stern reminder that the public deserves courts that wait until legislatures legislate before creating new rights.
Oh, well – Frank is not interested in a frank exchange of views.Â His goal is to shut down debate by branding everyone on the other side as a homophobe.
Exactly.Â Exactly.Â Barney’s goal is to shut down debate.