Christine O’Donnell’s victory in the Delaware primary is indeed great news for the Democratsâ€”and may finally get the media to pay attention to just how out of the mainstream Tea Party candidates really are.Â I have to agree with Jonathan’s commenters, though: her saying masturbation is equivalent to adultery is a bizarre view but very different from calling for a government ban.Â (Some people say masturbation is equivalent to adultery; some say people should have sex with butterflies.Â Neither position, given that it will have zero effect on public policy and is not even a statement about public policy, either picks my pocket or breaks my leg.)
However, there is somebody who is appalled that we can’t ban masturbation: Justice Scalia.Â Remember what he said in his dissent in Lawrence v. Texas (towards the end of section I):
State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowersâ€™ validation of laws based on moral choices. Every single one of these laws is called into question by todayâ€™s decision; the Court makes no effort to cabin the scope of its decision to exclude them from its holding. …The impossibility of distinguishing homosexuality from other traditional â€œmoralsâ€ offenses is precisely why Bowers rejected the rational-basis challenge.
What a massive disruption of the current social order, therefore, the overruling of Bowers entails.
(bold type added).
This was a completely unforced error.Â Justice Thomas, also dissenting, wrote that banning gay sex, while in his view constitutional, was “uncommonly silly” [citing Griswold v. Connecticut], and that “punishing someone for expressing his sexual preference through noncommercial consensual conduct with another adult does not appear to be a worthy way to expend valuable law enforcement resources.”Â Scalia could have said that, but he didn’t.Â What makes him angry is not that a legislature might be able to jail people for spanking monkeysâ€”but that it might not.
We’ll hear the last of O’Donnell after she gets the votes of everyone in Delaware who’s never masturbated.Â Scalia, we’re stuck with.