Does it matter? To a liberal administration one would certainly think that it wouldn’t. But apparently it does.
Is President Obama going to manage to get Elena Kagan confirmed to the Supreme Court without addressing her sexuality? Well, not if Andrew Sullivan has anything to do with it. Sullivan attacked Kagan’s sexuality, or the lack of public mention of it, in a series of posts yesterday, with a ferocity that was reminiscent of his determination to find out the true parentage of Trig Palin. It seems to be working.
From Andrew Sullivan:
[W]e have been told by many that she is gay … and no one will ask directly if this is true and no one in the administration will tell us definitively.
In a word, this is preposterous – a function of liberal cowardice and conservative discomfort. It should mean nothing either way. Since the issue of this tiny minority – and the right of the huge majority to determine its rights and equality – is a live issue for the court in the next generation, and since it would be bizarre to argue that a Justice’s sexual orientation will not in some way affect his or her judgment of the issue, it is only logical that this question should be clarified. It’s especially true with respect to Obama. He has, after all, told us that one of his criteria for a Supreme Court Justice is knowing what it feels like to be on the wrong side of legal discrimination.
Back in April CBS was forced to pull a blog post saying that Kagan was gay and out of the closet. A White house spokesman said it was a “false charge.” Ben Domenech, the author of the blog post updated with this:
“ I have to correct my text here to say that Kagan is apparently still closeted — odd, because her female partner is rather well known in Harvard circles.”
I think Sullivan is wrong about no one in the administration will tell us definitively. They told us definitively that it was untrue. I think the question is…Are they lying? If it is well known in Harvard circles, isn’t it a more than hypocritical for the White House to say definitively that she isn’t gay?
I, like many Americans, could not care less if she is or isn’t. So why does the administration want to hide it? It goes back to my post yesterday regarding how Democrat leaders say one thing, and do another. They hide behind the mask of moderation. If Kagan is gay, there shouldn’t be a reason to deny it. I think Sullivan has a point here (Good grief, agreeing with Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Sullivan in the space of 2 days is surreal). It is cowardly not to tell if she is.
So let me ask you the reader some questions. Does Kagan have a right to her private life, even under such a microscope as confirmation for the Supreme Court? If she doesn’t want to be outed, is that her choice? Is it wrong to deny it, if she is? Do you think it would color her judgement on issues like gay marriage?
It’s a curious thing. Here everyone seems to “know” she is gay, just as we “know” Anderson Cooper is gay, but heaven forbid they admit it. This is a liberal administration. Wouldn’t this perpetuate the notion that being gay is something to hide and something to be ashamed of in their view?
The administration could have said, “Her sexuality doesn’t matter.” But they didn’t. They were offensive and called it a “false charge.” Anita Dunn, former White House Communications director now working on the Kagan nomination had this to say in the WaPo about the CBS blog post, “The fact that they’ve chosen to become enablers of people posting lies on their site tells us where the journalistic standards of CBS are in 2010.” That’s a pretty strong denial.
If she isn’t gay, then why doesn’t she just say so, and let’s be done with it. We can stop the speculating.
Human Rights Campaign spokesman Michael Cole called the rumors about Kagan’s sexuality a play “straight out the right-wing playbook” in a piece in The Huffington Post.
But that is simply not true:
“Most of the rumormongering isn’t coming from the right, it’s coming from the left,” says Michael Triplett, who blogs for Mediaite and sits on the board of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.
For those of us who are against her being on the Supreme Court, it has nothing to do with who she chooses to sleep with, and everything to do with her political beliefs. So nothing would change for us. For those who agree with her, I would imagine it wouldn’t matter.
So, it’s probably best that she answer the question one way or another.
Update: Lez Get Real, a lesbian blog agrees:
“Right now, rumours about Elena Kagan are hitting a fever pitch. Unfortunately, she cannot openly address the concerns people will have about confirming a gay person to the Supreme Court. She cannot name the homophobia of those that will oppose her confirmation. She will be battling whispers with shadows and there is no way to win that fight. If she is not a lesbian, she needs to come out and say it, and put to rest the rumours and concerns. If she is gay, I believe she needs to say that too, and quickly. While being gay is not a shameful thing, being chased out of the closet can certainly make a person appear weak and lacking in integrity.”
Tell me what you think.
crossposted at KathleenMcKinley.com