Updated at 11:18pm ET:
Princeton University student Duncan Hosie joined The Last Word in an exclusive interview on Tuesday to discuss his tense interaction with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on homosexuality.
“I think there’s a fundamental difference between arguing that the Constitution doesn’t protect gay rights and [saying that] the Constitution justifies that we need to use this language when talking about gay rights,” he told MSNBC’s Alex Wagner. “That was the point of my question. I wanted to confront Justice Scalia” to talk about his controversial “rhetoric,” which compared homosexuality to bestiality and murder.
While the justice was “polite” and “respectful” towards him, Hosie said Scalia’s “views are increasingly becoming out of the mainstream.” Hosie received a round of applause from the auditorium and a “positive reaction” from people on campus and across the country after questioning the justice–although he noted a generational divide, saying that the older people in the audience had applauded Justice Scalia’s reply.
The Princeton freshman argued that conservatives, who consider marriage the bedrock of society, should be supportive of adults who want to form committed, longterm bonds.
During the show, Georgetown University law professor Jonathan Turley warned that Scalia is on a “slippery slope” intellectually, “if you allow the majority to criminalize what they declare is immoral.”
Speaking to MSNBC.com earlier, Hosie offered some advice for the Supreme Court Justice. “If you’re trying to make an argument against gay marriage, it doesn’t make sense to alienate so many people—even some conservatives.”
At an event at Princeton Monday night, Hosie, who is gay, asked Scalia about previous legal writings in which the Justice equated laws banning sodomy with those against bestiality and murder. Scalia responded: “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?”
After saying he was not equating sodomy with murder but rather drawing a parallel between the bans on both, Scalia deadpanned to Hosie: “I’m surprised you aren’t persuaded.”
“I still don’t feel persuaded,” Hosie told MSNBC.com. “It’s fine for a Supreme Court Justice to oppose gay rights, but I don’t think it’s okay for a Supreme Court Justice to compare gay sex to bestiality or murder.”
Hosie said that while he disagreed with Scalia’s answer, he wasn’t offended by the Justice’s tone. “I asked him a biting question, and he gave me a biting response. I think it’s just his personality,” the San Francisco native said.
In his question to the Justice, Hosie extensively quoted Scalia’s dissenting opinions from Supreme Court cases on sodomy. He wanted to use Scalia’s exact words, he said, to show how isolating the language is to the gay community.
Hosie called the Supreme Court’s Friday decision to hear its first same-sex marriage cases extremely important, especially for gay teenagers struggling to accept their homosexuality. “I didn’t have a particular struggle coming out—I have a very supportive family—but there was an internal struggle,” he said.
Watch the video of Hosie’s conversation with Alex Wagner.
(Photo by Katherine Elgin/The Daily Princetonian)