Lesbian Rumors Swirl Around Supreme Court Nominee Kagan
President Obama has announced his nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan as a nominee to replace the retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. But even though Kagan’s name was circulated as a potential replacement for David Souter last year--with rumors that the unmarried Kagan was lesbian rife at the time, but not exciting controversy--suddenly, those same rumors are exciting considerable response--from the left.
Salon.com reported in a May 9 article that Kagan’s impending nomination has sparked accusations from the left that the rumors are the result of a right-wing "whispering campaign" designed to derail the nomination. According to the Salon.com article, the Huffington Post has come out pro-actively pushing back against the rumors of Kagan being a lesbian, while the Human Rights Campaign has called that speculation "straight out of the right-wing playbook."
"But wait, there’s more!" the Salon.com article read. "This isn’t just leftists shaming all lesbians and gays and denying the legitimacy of nominating a member of our minority when representation of diversity is supposedly a fundamental value of leftism. Gays and lesbians are also joining in!
"Oh, and no one has interviewed Kagan to ask her to settle the matter," the article noted.
However, the White House and the Human Right Campaign have declared that Kagan is not, in fact, a lesbian, The Huffington Post reported in an April 16 article. HRC spokesperson Michael Cole sent an email to the Huffington Post saying that Kagan’s nomination would prove a money-maker for radical right-wing groups thanks to the lesbian rumors. "Even though the majority of Americans couldn’t care less about a nominee’s sexual orientation, the far right will continue to be shameless with their whisper campaigns to drum up their base and raise money off of prejudice," wrote Cole.
Meantime, the White House had already declared that Kagan was heterosexual, a denial that was triggered by an April 11 blog at CBS by Ben Domenech, a noted conservative, who claimed that, if confirmed to the bench, Kagan would be the Supreme Court’s "first openly gay justice."
The rumors may indeed be the result of nothing more than wishful thinking, but they might also play into any plans that Republicans might be laying to obstruct Kagan’s confirmation. Alternatively, anti-gay groups might be looking to energize Republican lawmakers by making an issue of the rumors; the Huffington Post noted that although the influential anti-gay group Focus on the Family had indicated in 2009 that an openly gay candidate might not automatically draw the group’s condemnation, this year that assertion changed into a vow to oppose any openly gay or lesbian nominee.
"We can assure you that we recognize that homosexual behavior is a sin and does not reflect God’s created intent and desire for humanity," Focus on the Family’s Tom Minnery said. "Further, we at Focus do affirm that character and moral rectitude should be key considerations in appointing members of the judiciary, especially in the case of the highest court in the land. Sexual behavior--be it heterosexual or homosexual--certainly lies at the heart of personal morality."
Next: Playing Both Sides?