Scalia Slams 'Legalistic Argle-Bargle,' Re-Argues 'Homosexual Sodomy' In Dissenting DOMA Rant

06/26/2013 12:11 pm ET | Updated Jan 16, 2015

WASHINGTON -- A day after siding with four other conservative justices to overturn a portion of a nearly 50 year old civil rights law that maintained broad bipartisan support, Justice Antonin Scalia lashed out at the Supreme Court for intervening in the gay marriage debate.

When it came to protections for minority voters, Scalia had no patience for democracy, specifically noting that the court should overturn the law because it is too popular to overturn in Congress. But as far as protections for gay and lesbian couples are concerned, Scalia would prefer the court stay away.

The court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act on Wednesday in a 5-4 decision. In a dissent choked with rage, Scalia dismissed the majority's reasoning as "legalistic argle-bargle."

Scalia's dissent is less a legal argument and more a plea for recognition that there are "good people on all sides." In it, he repeatedly played the role of victim, complaining that it is unfair that his opposition to gay marriage is no longer considered legitimate.

"It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race," Scalia wrote, accusing the majority of "declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage an enemy of human decency ... In the majority’s telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us."

"To hurl such accusations so casually demeans this institution," said Scalia, before using his dissent to re-argue the legality of sodomy. Wednesday's decision was inevitable, he said, when the court sanctioned "homosexual sodomy," and striking down the Defense of Marriage Act will inevitably lead to fully legal same-sex marriages.

"When the Court declared a constitutional right to homosexual sodomy, we were assured that the case had nothing, nothing at all to do with 'whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter,'" he wrote. "Now we are told that DOMA is invalid because it 'demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects,' ante, at 23 -- with an accompanying citation of Lawrence.

"It takes real cheek for today’s majority to assure us, as it is going out the door, that a constitutional requirement to give formal recognition to same-sex marriage is not at issue here — when what has preceded that assurance is a lecture on how superior the majority’s moral judgment in favor of same-sex marriage is to the Congress’s hateful moral judgment against it. I promise you this: The only thing that will 'confine' the Court’s holding is its sense of what it can get away with."

Along with debating sodomy, Scalia drew a connection to polygamy, noting "the Constitution neither requires nor forbids our society to approve of same-sex marriage, much as it neither requires nor forbids us to approve of no-fault divorce, polygamy, or the consumption of alcohol."

Scalia argued that the question of same-sex marriage should be left to Congress and the states.

"We might have let the People decide," he said. "But that the majority will not do. Some will rejoice in today’s decision, and some will despair at it; that is the nature of a controversy that matters so much to so many. But the Court has cheated both sides, robbing the winners of an honest victory, and the losers of the peace that comes from a fair defeat. We owed both of them better. I dissent."

SCOTUS Decisions On Prop 8, Defense Of Marriage Act

06/26/2013 7:32 PM EDT

Catholic Archbishop: DOMA, Prop 8 Rulings 'Hurt Us All'

Some Catholic leaders are asking parishioners to consider the judgment of a higher power, not the nation's highest court.

Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron issued a statement criticizing the Supreme Court's decision in the DOMA and Prop 8 cases, saying that attempts to redefine marriage "hurt us all."

The well-being of our society, our nation, and our families is intimately linked to the institution of marriage. These decisions by the United States Supreme Court will make significantly more difficult our work of upholding the truth that marriage is a lifelong covenant between one man and one woman. Such decisions, made by any civic authority, do not serve the common good.

Catholics and millions of our fellow citizens will continue to make the case, respectfully yet vigorously, that marriage cannot be redefined, and that attempts to do so hurt us all.

Read more here.

06/26/2013 5:58 PM EDT

Stonewall Inn Crowd Celebrates DOMA, Vows To Keep Fighting

The Huffington Post's Lila Shapiro reports:

NEW YORK -- On Wednesday, the Stonewall Inn opened earlier than usual. At 10 a.m., the day the U.S. Supreme Court handed the gay rights movement a landmark victory, the historic bar was dimly lit, strung with rainbow flags, and filled with revelers toasting each other and pledging their determination to keep fighting.

Read the whole post here.

06/26/2013 4:16 PM EDT

Washington National Cathedral Rings Bells Celebrating Gay Marriage Rulings

The Washington National Cathedral rang bells at noon today to celebrate the Supreme Court rulings on the Defense Of Marriage Act and Prop 8.

Rev. Gary Hall, Dean of the Cathedral, released a statement soon after the rulings were announced:

“We are ringing our bells at the Cathedral to celebrate the extension of federal marriage equality to all the same-sex couples modeling God’s love in lifelong covenants," he said. "Our prayers for continued happiness are with them and with all couples who will be joined in matrimony in the years to come, whether at Washington National Cathedral or elsewhere."

Click here to hear the bells.

06/26/2013 4:12 PM EDT

Matthew Shepard's Mom Responds To DOMA Ruling

Matthew Shepard's mom, Judy, said she wished her son had lived to see Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling striking down DOMA.

"I wish he'd been here to see it," she said. "This case warms my heart, to think that his dream is still coming true."

Click here to read more.

06/26/2013 3:45 PM EDT

Marriage Equality Supporters Pictured Reacting To SCOTUS Rulings From Stonewall Inn


(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

06/26/2013 3:31 PM EDT

Celebrating From Stonewall Inn, Iconic Location Credited For The Start Of The LGBT Movement

stonewall inn

(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

06/26/2013 3:20 PM EDT

Couple Kiss, Celebrate SCOTUS Decisions While Holding Their Soon-To-Be Adopted Children


(Photo by Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

06/26/2013 3:09 PM EDT

DOMA Decision Helps LGBT Couples On Immigration

HuffPost's Elise Foley reports:

Judy Rickard, who is 65, and Karin Bogliolo, who is 72, have been together for eight years, legal domestic partners for five and legally married for two. They're one of an estimated 28,500 binational same-sex couples who have been excluded from immigration benefits because of DOMA, which disallowed the federal government from recognizing their marriages. The ruling doesn't entirely fix the problem -- couples must be married rather than partners, and must travel to a state that allows same-sex marriage if they don't live in one -- but it's still a major victory for LGBT rights.

Read more about Rickard and Bogliolo and more couples helped by the DOMA decision here.

06/26/2013 3:07 PM EDT

Food Network Host Announces Engagement To Partner Of 20 Years

Ted Allen, host of the hit Food Network show "Chopped" and his partner of 20 years, interior designer Barry Rice, were "over the moon" when they read on Wednesday morning that the court had ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

Their day had come. They were getting married. Allen quickly announced their engagement on Twitter and Facebook. He said that the notices garnered the most enthusiastic response of any he'd ever posted; his Facebook status received 417 comments in the first 40 minutes.

Fellow food competition host Tom Colicchio sent his enthusiastic congratulations to the couple via Twitter.

Allen said that he and Rice would soon begin preparing for their wedding, likely a quiet affair in New York, but for now they're content to revel in the good news.

"I don't think that by any means our movement is finished, that our work is done, but this was an enormous hurdle," he said. "DOMA has been Chopped, sir."

-- Joe Satran

06/26/2013 3:01 PM EDT

'Make Them Hear You'

The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington gathered outside the Supreme Court Tuesday, singing "Make Them Hear You" after the Supreme Court rulings. Watch a video of the performance below:

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