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Is Elena Kagan, President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, a lesbian?
Is it important?
Depends on who you talk to.
Openly gay blogger Andrew Sullivan says it’s damn important and wants Kagan and the White House to come clean about about her sexual orientation.
There are three possibilities, it seems to me, behind the kerfuffle over Elena Kagan’s emotional orientation. The first is that her orientation is heterosexual and she is merely a dedicated career person who never had time for a date. The second is that she is lesbian, and she remains in a glass closet, and the Obamaites, revealing their usual tone-deafness on gay issues, never asked and blundered into this. The third is that she is a highly cautious political lesbian who has drawn a line around her real life in order to prevent her orientation being used against her – especially by the Christianist right.
Rumors that Kagan is gay aren’t new. Neither is the reluctance of Presient Barack Obama’s administration to openly confront the issue. When asked about the issue Tuesday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says “it’s not anything I’m going to get into.”
Others, however, are into the issue.
“It’s time we got over the myth tht what a public servant does in his private life is of no consequence,” writes Bryan Fischer of the ultra right-wing American Family Association.
Fischer claims lesbians are “sexually abnormal” and, therefore, unfit for Supreme Court Service.
Richard Kim, writing in The Nation, disagrees:
I don’t know if Elena Kagan sleeps with women or men. I don’t know if she sleeps with anyone at all. I don’t care. What I do know is that she has never claimed to be a lesbian, that she’s never spoken out in the first-person as an advocate of gay rights and that she has never publicly discussed a romantic relationship with a woman. Gay isn’t some genetic or soulful essence; it’s a name you call yourself–and Kagan has not done that. So in my book, case closed. Elena Kagan is not gay. Is she straight? I don’t know, and again, I don’t care. Why does she have to have a sexuality at all?
Jack Shafer at Salon says he would be nice if Kagan, if gay, were open and honest about her orientation:
One would think that we had already reached the shrugging point and that President Obama, backed by a solidly democratic Senate, could be persuaded to nominate a qualified, out-of-the-closet homosexual. Instead, he’s nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan, an accomplished lawyer who has deliberately left such a vague paper trail and such a oblique personal trail that we have almost no idea of who she is.
Perhaps Kagan is nervous about declaring her sexuality because of comments like this one posted by “Jack Smith” on the “This Week” web site:
She’s too ugly for a guy to go after her. She’s gotta be a lesbian out of necessity!
The Wall Street Journal added fuel to the fire by publishing an old photo of her playing softball. Gay rights groups got all hot and bothered, saying the photo was homophobic because softball is considered a lesbian sport.
And the beat goes on.