April 29, 2010
by Brian Leubitz
Ok, now that I shocked you into reading this post, let me clarify. Justice Scalia, in oral argument yesterday, grilled attorneys for Protect Marriage Washington who were trying to hide the names of people who had signed the petition to put Washington’s domestic partnership up on the ballot.
For the second time this month, the U.S. Supreme Court’s most conservative member, Justice Antonin Scalia, on Wednesday, April 28 took a surprising position — one that is helpful to gay civil rights.
“The First Amendment,” said Scalia during oral arguments in a case involving the 2008 Washington State referendum on a domestic partnership law, “does not protect you from criticism or even nasty phone calls when you exercise your political rights to legislate, or to take part in the legislative process.” The point was essentially the same as that made by five national gay legal and political groups in their friend-of-the-court brief in the case, Doe v. Reed. (Bay Windows)
First, let me just say this before the world gets too topsy-turvy. Justice Scalia is rather dogmatic. It is just that his dogma happens to coincide with what LGBT issues at this point.
Here’s the background on this case. A group of ant-gay opponents of domestic partnership in Washington placed a measure on the ballot, Ref71. 71 would have eliminated Washington’s domestic parternship program. Apparently, for some, it isn’t really about marriage, it’s about never letting gays and lesbians have any rights with respect to the ones they love whatsoever. The issue in this case is whether the Washington law that allows the names of those who signed the petition to be made available is Constitutional.
Justice Scalia pretty much sums up my thoughts on the issue. You have a right to free speech, but not the right to be free of others criticism based upon the speech. That’s really no way to run a democracy. Democracy requires that, in the political arena, we speak freely, yet speak with without a veil of secrecy. The anti-marriage crowd wants to pelt stones at our community from behind a duck blind.
Perhaps they should just put sheets on, throw on a white hood, and be done with it. That always worked for the racists back in the day.