Today, President Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court. Since she happens to be an unmarried woman who has not publicly commented on her sexuality and supports LGBT rights, many on the right are making assumptions about her personal life — and therefore her fitness to serve as a justice. Last month, CBS News published an online column by former Bush administration speechwriter and current editor of The New Ledger Ben Domenech, who called Kagan the “first openly gay justice.” The White House quickly responded, demanding that CBS pull down the post and saying that the site was “applying old stereotypes to single women with successful careers.”
The right wing has been hammering Kagan over the fact that while she was dean, Harvard Law School “refused to help the nation’s military recruit its students, because the armed services discriminated against openly gay soldiers.” Conservatives have been using this episode to unjustly portray her as being anti-military and to add fuel to the speculation over whether or not she is a lesbian. In a blog post for the far-right American Family Association (AFA) today, Bryan Fischer comes right out and says that the media should pointedly ask Kagan, “Are you a lesbian?” And if she is, according to AFA, she shouldn’t serve on the court:
It’s time we got over the myth that what a public servant does in his private life is of no consequence. We cannot afford to have another sexually abnormal individual in a position of important civic responsibility, especially when that individual could become one of nine votes in an out of control oligarchy that constantly usurps constitutional prerogatives to unethically and illegally legislate for 300 million Americans.
The stakes are too high. Social conservatives must rise up as one and say no lesbian is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court. Will they?
Americans For Truth — a group “devoted exclusively to exposing and countering the homosexual activist agenda” — also put out a statement saying that Kagan needs to answer, “Are (or were) you a practicing homosexual or do you consider yourself homosexual (gay)?” Last month, Focus on the Family also said that it would not be open to a gay Supreme Court justice.
The right-wing assumption that if she is a lesbian, she will have a conflict-of-interest and be personally biased in certain areas is similar to the criticisms the right had against Sonia Sotomayor and the fact that she is a Latina. Media Matters has put together a video recalling just how low the right will go, as it did with the race-based attacks on Sotomayor. Watch it:
(HT: Right Wing Watch)
The National Organization of Marriage put out a statement today saying that a vote to confirm Kagan “will be a vote for imposing gay marriage on all 50 states.”
,Domenech contacted ThinkProgress and passed along a post he wrote today, condemning AFA and AFT’s attacks on Kagan:
By claiming “no lesbian is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court,” the AFA and AFT put themselves on the fringe of politics and society. While there are obvious political benefits for the president in a history-making appointment, the sexuality of a nominee should never be a determining factor in whether they are qualified for a position on the court, either as a positive or negative. How will you interpret the law? When it comes to getting the job, how you answer that question matters most.