Christine O’Donnell’s victory in the Delaware primary is indeed great news for the Democrats—and may finally get the media to pay attention to just how out of the mainstream Tea Party candidates really are. 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. (Some people say masturbation is equivalent to adultery; some say people should have sex with butterflies. 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. 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 Bowers’ validation of laws based on moral choices. Every single one of these laws is called into question by today’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 “morals” 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. 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.” Scalia could have said that, but he didn’t. What makes him angry is not that a legislature might be able to jail people for spanking monkeys—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. Scalia, we’re stuck with.