Yesterday a photo of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan playing softball at age 17 in the Wall Street Journal set the Internet aflame. Was it an insinuation that Kagan is a lesbian, or just an excuse to use the "come to the plate" pun? The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) immediately lashed out the Journal, claiming it was an implicit allusion to Kagan being gay.
The rumor that Kagan is a closeted lesbian has been everywhere since President Obama nominated her Monday morning. Where did it come from? Let's start with bloggers, but it was CBS who pulled the rumor out of the bloggy slush pile and gave it wings in the mainstream media. It published a blog post by conservative blogger Ben Domenech, who's resigned at least once for plagiarism that said Kagan would be the "first openly gay justice." CBS insisted the post stay after initial rumblings, but ultimately removed it.
Now we know how the story became so big, but what evidence is there? Lots of opinions. Here are three reasons that the rumor has become larger than fact below.
- She's unmarried: Apparently, you can't be over 40 and unmarried, and not be a homosexual. Deal with that Lori Gottleib! But how soon we forget that retired Associate Justice David Souter never married or declared his sexuality, and lived with his mother until she died.
- She hasn't denied it: This prompts official-sounding places like the American Family Association to say on its blog, "A refusal to answer is a tacit admission of guilt."
- The gay community wants it to be true: Rumors that Kagan is gay have circulated on gay blogs for months, and many members of the community have vocally awaited a gay appointee. Adam Amel Rogers of Change.org said, "I, and many other LGBT advocates, have definitely found ourselves longing for Kagan to make an announcement, because in the world of identity politics I guess the thought of an openly lesbian Supreme Court justice sounds so enticing that we have ignored the fact that it really is absolutely none of our business."
So while most people agree it doesn't matter if she's gay nor is it our business, it will matter as long as we talk about it. Which is why, I am going to stop.