>Why are right-wingers obsessed with Kagan’s sexuality?

>Ever since President Obama nominated Elena Kagan to succeed John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court, those on the right have launched the much-expected criticisms. From the false claims that Kagan kicked military recruiters off campus while she was dean at Harvard Law School, that she’s a socialist to the notion that she is unqualified because she hasn’t been a judge (despite the fact that 38 court judges had no experience before being selected for the Court, INCLUDING William Rehnquist), conservatives have begun a fact-less campaign to smear Kagan’s name.

But conservatives haven’t stopped there. They have begun to question the sexuality of Elena Kagan. On the blog at American Family Association’s website, the organization accuses Kagan of being guilty of being a lesbian because she refuses to answer the asinine question about whether she likes men, women or both.

A refusal to answer is a tacit admission of guilt. But she may not be able publicly to deny she’s a lesbian, likely because it’s true. She may not be able to admit it either, because it could cost her a Supreme Court post. So she’s likely to refuse to answer the question at all, and the only plausible explanation for her evasion would be because rumors of her lesbianism aren’t rumors at all but based in fact.

Think about it for a minute. If you were falsely accused of engaging in sexually aberrant behavior, would you waste a single minute challenging such a scurrilous rumor?

This poster goes on to say:

One qualification for public office is personal character, and nothing speaks to character more than the choices one makes when it comes to sexual conduct. Bill Clinton convinced an entire generation of America’s youth that oral sex isn’t really sex, and as a result we’ve seen an explosion among millenials in cancers of the throat and head caused by the HPV virus, which is spread through oral-genital contact.

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?

The National Organization for Marriage (really?) came out with a statement that Kagan, if approved to serve on the court, will seek to “overturn Prop 8 in California, the federal Defense of Marriage Act and the laws protecting marriage in all 50 states.”


A woman’s sexuality has always been of interest to men, especially when women enter the public sphere (and to all you gender studies folks, I’m not talking about prostitution here). A woman who is single, has no children and is successful is eyed as having one of two problems: she has rejected her so-called maternal instics to become a mother and a wife or has rejected the male specimen and is a lesbian. It’s safe to say that if Elena Kagan was Eric Kagan, with no wife or no kids, his sexuality would not become a guessing game among pundits and fringe activists. 

The idea that this woman’s sexuality is fair game is indicative of how low conservatives will go to further their campaign to revert America back to the 1950s. The idea that Kagan will hop onto the bench and seek to overturn every anti-gay law in the name of judicial activism is disingenuous on the part of these self-annointed family values organizations. 

No, it’s not an admission of guilt if Kagan refuses to satisfy the lust of fringe conservatives on knowing what is her sexual preference. Kagan’s refusal to legitimize these smear tactics shows her practicality and her professionalism. And it’s a shame many of these same conservatives refuse to emulate her style.