Why It Totally Matters If Kagan Is Gay
Andrew Sullivan, whom I tend not to like very much, has raised the question on his blog of whether Kagan, if indeed she is a lesbian, needs to come out. Like right now.
Sullivan’s got it right, surprisingly enough. It’s my humble opinion that Kagan does need to disclose her sexuality and that you and I and the rest of the people in this country who care about civil rights ought to care deeply about this.
The great progressive blogger Digby has weighed in on this issue, and for once she gets it completely wrong. Her point is that a Supreme Court justice’s sexuality is a private matter that doesn’t bear on a her ability to render sound opinions on the most pressing issues of the day. That notion, which is prevalent among the politically-correct and Obama-apologist class, is, quite simply, bullshit.
The closet has everything to do with how you think, particularly if you happen to be a 50-year-old woman who has lived within it her whole life. The closet fucks you up. It twists and warps you in ways you can’t possibly imagine unless you’ve once been inside it and have emerged from it to live openly as who you are.
The closet tends to make you overcompensate in really weird ways. The evidence of this type of overcompensation is already distressingly apparent in Kagan’s disgraceful record on minority hiring while she was the Dean of the Harvard Law School.
Kagan’s sexuality matters a great deal and is a proper topic of public discussion because she is poised to take a lifetime seat on the court that will likely rule on cases, such as Perry v. Schwarzenegger, that will decide a fundamental question of civil rights for a historically disfavored minority for the next generation and possibly beyond.
Gay men and lesbians and anyone else who is sexually non-conforming, i.e., not “straight,” by law occupies a second class in this country. That means no federal marriage rights, no rights upon death or divorce, no Social Security benefits for a deceased spouse, no hospital visits, the whole bit.
Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court is a chance for those of us who have labored for years to make this country a fully equal and just place for all of our citizens to draw a line. No more closeted homos or closeted dykes in power. No more taking for granted the goodwill of the LGBT community while cynical careerists grasp the levers of power. No more cruel and unjust lawmaking by closeted or mealy-mouthed or cynically non-committal politicians.
I want to be clear. If Kagan is indeed gay, then that would be a huge plus in her favor, at least in my opinion. If she’s not, then let her say so, and let’s be done with it. What’s to hide?
But for Kagan and the Obama White House to attempt to shield this crucial fact from public scrutiny, particularly when Kagan is on track to replace the most reliable liberal on the Court, is simply unacceptable. Frankly, it’s just plain cowardly.