Scalia Gay Marriage Comments Are Grounds For Recusal


As the dates when the Supreme Court will hear pivotal LGBT rights cases Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act approach, activists aren't very optimistic for the LGBT movement. One of the reasons is Justice Antonin Scalia, who is notorious for his past anti-LGBT statements. Given his bias against LGBT people and his son’s involvement with conversion therapy, is there a place for Scalia on the court as these landmark cases are heard? Though justices rarely recuse themselves from cases, Scalia's virulent anti-gay past is as good a reason as any.

Scalia's anti-gay sentiments are no secret: he has equated homosexuality with bestiality, and justifies discrimination against LGBT people in all capacities:

“Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home. They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive. The Court views it as ‘discrimination’ which it is the function of our judgments to deter.”

He also actively buys into the idea of the existence of a "homosexual agenda" and sees LGBT concerns as solely the concern of a certain "elite." There is no question that Scalia  is biased against LGBT people, and that bias will make rendering fair decisions on the rights of LGBT people virtually impossible.

The most egregious proof that Scalia is too biased to adequately judge cases related to LGBT issues is his son’s connection to conversion therapy and anti-LGBT groups. Paul, Scalia’s son who is a Roman Catholic priest, is affiliated with a group that uses “a 12-step program” to help LGBT people recover from their same-sex attraction. Conversion therapy, or reparative therapy similar to what Scalia's son supports, is an offensive and dangerous practice has harmed innumerable struggling LGBT persons. 

Supreme Court justices rarely excuse themselves from the decision making process until they have a direct financial stake in the case, something that right and left wing politicos called for in the lead up to the decision on Obamacare regarding justices Elena Kagan and Clarence Thomas.

Scalia is anti-gay and cannot fairly rule on the upcoming gay marriage cases before the Supreme Court in an impartial manner. Only by acknowledging his own bias and recusing himself from the case can Scalia truly do what is right.