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Princeton student who challenged Scalia over anti-gay opinions only came out one month ago

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

PRINCETON, N.J. — The university freshman who challenged U. S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia about his comparison of laws banning homosexuality to laws banning bestiality and murder, only declared his sexual orientation publicly a month ago.

During a lecture at Princeton University on Monday, San Francisco native Duncan Hosie asked Scalia why he equates laws banning sodomy with those barring bestiality and murder.

Duncan Hosie
Image via MSNBC.

Hosie said he was offended by some of Scalia’s written opinions on cases related to gay rights, and prefaced his question by quoting sections of Scalia’s opinions in Romer v. Evans and Lawrence v. Texas, Hosie asked:

“Justice Scalia, I’m gay, and as somebody who is gay I find these comparisons extraordinarily offensive,” he said.

“I think there is a fundamental difference between arguing the constitution does not protect gay sex, which is a defensible and legitimate legal position I disagree with, and comparing gays to people who commit murder or engage in bestiality. Do you have any regret or shame for drawing these comparisons you did in your dissents?”

Scalia responded, “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against these other things? It’s a reduction to the absurd … I don’t think it’s necessary, but I think it’s effective.”

Scalia added he was surprised he hadn’t been able to persuade Hosie of his opinion.

Hosie said he decided to ask his question in part because he has spent a substantial amount of time studying the Constitution and thinking about these constitutional legal issues through a class he attends taught by Princeton University’s Provost, Christopher Eisgruber, who clerked for retired U. S. Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens.

The Daily Princetonian reported that Hosie had only come out to his family just a little over one month ago:

“It was hard for me to ask that question, particularly given that accepting the fact that I’m gay hasn’t been easy,” he said in an interview with The Daily Princetonian.

He said he struggled with his orientation before coming out to his family, and he said reading Scalia’s negative comparisons while preparing his question made his struggle more difficult.

He had not originally intended to question Scalia’s opinion on homosexuality but decided to ask it in the end because he found Scalia’s language to be “so offensive as a whole.”

In the process of asking Scalia his question, Hosie outed himself publicly to the 800 people in the auditorium which, along with the coverage by the Associated Press and those who saw his appearance on MSNBC Tuesday night, noted the paper.

“Gay people are here; we aren’t going away,” he said. “It’s really unacceptable no matter who you are — whether you are a random person or a Supreme Court justice — to treat us in a way that I think is unfortunate.” Hosie said.

“I think the Constitution should be interpreted through a framework in which we look at the abstract moral principles that the founders laid out, and I disagree with Scalia in the sense of what it means to be faithful to the text.”

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13 more reader comments:

  1. Brilliant young man!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 8:19pm
  2. proud on so many levels as he is an alum of my high school and also speaks on behalf of so many, including my own son.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 8:22pm
  3. So what if he only came out a month ago?! It’s not like he decided to be gay last month, great job for him challenging the issue!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 8:22pm
  4. I think we should always congratulate each gay who comes out no matter what age.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 8:24pm
  5. Did he get his toaster?

    Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 9:00pm
  6. Does it really matter when he came out? It’s not like you flick on a switch and then instantly become gay. Sometimes it takes longer for others to make that step, considering it’s not always an easy one to make.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 9:02pm
  7. Brave young man.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 9:29pm
  8. Good for you. I felt free when I came out 40yrs ago at the age of 30

    Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 10:02pm
  9. I saw Duncan on MSNBC and can’t believe what a polished, articulate and confident young man he is. Let’s keep an eye out for his 35th birthday and run him for President! Of course, I’d also like to be able to vote for Zach Wahls, too! Maybe they could run as a ticket! :)

    Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 11:05pm
  10. ho

    Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 3:30am
  11. God Bless you Duncan Hosie. It took alot of courage and fortitude to ask that question. Justice Scalia needs to rethink his statements before deciding the fate of “Gay Marriage”.

    Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 5:23am
  12. Who cares when he came out? The fact that he did is brilliant!

    Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 9:55am
  13. Brave. He is a positive future, not the old, tired way.

    Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 11:23am