Is She Gay? Do We Have To Know?

Andrew Sullivan has become as obsessed with the question of whether Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is gay as he was over whether Sarah Palin is really Trig’s mother:

It is no more of an empirical question than whether she is Jewish. We know she is Jewish, and it is a fact simply and rightly put in the public square. If she were to hide her Jewishness, it would seem rightly odd, bizarre, anachronistic, even arguably self-critical or self-loathing. And yet we 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. Well: does he view Kagan’s possible life-experience as a gay woman relevant to this? Did Obama even ask about it? Are we ever going to know one way or the other? Does she have a spouse? Is this spouse going to be forced into the background in a way no heterosexual spouse ever would be?

While the question isn’t entirely irrelevant, I think Sullivan has it backwards here in comparing sexual orientation to religion. We should not be prying into the sex lives of nominees. In an ideal world we also would not care about their religion–especially in an ideal world in which religious views do not impact public policy.

1 Comment

  1. 1
    Brett Robinson says:

    RT @ronchusid: Andrew Sullivan has become as obsessed with the question of whether Kagan is gay but his argument is backwards. #p2

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