In a 1996 Supreme Court decision protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote that Colorado voters had evidenced an unconstitutional "animus" toward homosexuality. Justice Antonin Scalia dissented, huffing: "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."
Seven years later, when the court overturned a Texas law that criminalized same-sex sodomy, Scalia again dissented, writing: "The Texas statute undeniably seeks to further the belief of its citizens that certain forms of sexual behavior are 'immoral and unacceptable' the same interest furthered by criminal laws against fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality, and obscenity."
This was too much for Duncan Hosie, a gay freshman at Princeton University who took advantage of a campus visit by Scalia last week to ask the justice if such odious comparisons were necessary to make a legal point. Scalia was unrepentant. "If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder?" he asked. The justice denied that he was equating homosexual conduct with bestiality or murder, insisting that he was engaging in a form of argument called "reduction to the absurd." "It's a form of argument that I thought you would have known," he admonished the freshman.