Justice Antonin Scalia says he’s not anti-gay—he just thinks the issue of same-sex marriage should be left up to the people.
“The issue is who decides,” Scalia said at an event with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at George Washington University Thursday night, the Washington Blade reported. “Should these decisions be made by the Supreme Court without any text in the Constitution or any history in the Constitution to support imposing on the whole country or is it a matter left to the people?”
“Don’t paint me as anti-gay or anti-abortion or anything else,” Scalia added.
Scalia this week joined a dissent written by Justice Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court’s decision to allow same-sex marriages in Alabama to proceed. And in 2013, Scalia wrote his own anguished dissent in the landmark U.S. v. Windsor case striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
“The real rationale of today’s opinion, whatever disappearing trail of its legalistic argle-bargle one chooses to follow, is that DOMA is motivated by ‘bare … desire to harm’ couples in same-sex marriages,” Scalia wrote. “How easy it is, indeed how inevitable, to reach the same conclusion with regard to state laws denying same-sex couples marital status,”
That warning has turned out to be prescient, as judges have struck down numerous state bans on same-sex marriage in the wake of Windsor.
Despite his comments Thursday night, Scalia’s rhetoric has at times drawn anger from gay rights advocates. He has compared laws banning gay sex to laws against child pornography, incest, and bestiality, since all are based on a popular belief that those behaviors are “immoral and unacceptable.” And he suggested that Texas’s anti-sodomy was constitutional because gay people could comply with it by just sleeping with people of the opposite sex instead.