White House handling of Kagan rumors angers gay activists

The White House’s handling of rumors about Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s sexuality are “patently offensive” and “insulting to the gay and lesbian community,” say some gay rights advocates.

The White House refuted the rumor that Kagan is a lesbian in mid April, when CBS published a piece arguing that Kagan would be the “first openly gay justice.” Just hours after the post was published, says the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz, “an administration official, who asked not to be identified discussing personal matters, said Kagan is not a lesbian.” Former White House staffer Anita Dunn told Kurtz that CBS had “enabled” people who insist on “applying old stereotypes to single women with successful careers.”

Since then, the White House has asserted more and more aggressively that Kagan is not sexually attracted to women. “We are going to defend the nominee that the president has chosen,” Robert Gibbs told The Daily Caller’s Jon Ward when asked why the White House pushed back so aggressively against the rumors. That same day, Ron Klain, chief counsel to the vice president and a key figure in the White House legal team, said, “Elena went through the same vet that everyone else goes through for the Supreme Court is all I’ll say.”

Both responses are offensive, contend the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay group. “That they felt that there had to be clarification is a tacit acknowledgement that for her to be anything other than straight is a political liability,” said Charles Moran, the organization’s spokesman. “And that’s insulting to the gay and lesbian community.”

Some on the other side of the political spectrum agree. “If the White House is rebutting it for political reasons—and what other reasons are there to deny that someone is gay?—I think the approach is patently offensive to the LGBT community,” says Amanda Hess, a sex and gender columnist at the Washington City Paper and the proprietor of the popular Sexist blog. “‘Just so you know, our Supreme Court nominee isn’t gay!’ doesn’t sound very good,” Hess wrote in an email, “because a statement like that is motivated by homophobia.”

But Hess also said that the White House is in a tough spot. “If you refuse to confirm or deny the rumors that she’s a lesbian, you anger the gay activists who are angry about a nominee being kept in the closet. If you confirm the rumors, you risk a heated battle from religious conservatives—and you out a woman who has apparently preferred to keep her sexual orientation close to the vest.”

Moran agrees that the White House may have stumbled into “a trap.” Conservative and liberal groups, he said, “are going to use this entire situation to raise money and the Obama administration completely fell for the bait” by first rebutting the rumors about Kagan.

“It’s no secret that they’ve had some public scraps with the GLBT constituency,” Moran added. “Issuing a statement clarifying that Kagan is ‘straight’ and not a lesbian–did that hurt some more feelings in gay and lesbian circles? You bet.”

  • jpatrickham

    What, Gay activists are angry? I am shocked, and to think all this time that they were peaceful. Gay activists, are the greatest example of “The Mouse That Roared.” Though small in number, they have managed to infiltrate just about every segment of society. They have some how picked up many to aid there cause, but that is were I am alarmed. Just what is it they are after? Is it Gay marriage, well why stop there, they might also want a Constitutional Amendment forcing there lifestyle down the American public’s throat. They have made a lot of noise in the last ten years or so, and I just hope they settle down.

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  • Momma M

    There is not ONE iota of honesty inside this administration. There tactics are NOT above-board! We protest this woman NOT because she is (or isn’t) a lesbian… We protest this woman on her (lack of) merits!
    Obama – You can’t divert our attention any longer! The facts of her nomination are pretty clear to most Americans… She isn’t worth her weight… Not for the Supreme Court anyway… (Perhaps she needs to apply for a position with ACORN)


    This is what political correctness gets us.What about people who are straight,most of us are sick and tired of having this crap shoved down our throats.
    Okay you’re gay,woowhoooo,yipee.Throw a party with your friends,it doesn’t mean we have to accept you or that we won’t.It’s up to each person,most of us aren’t interested in your personal life and don’t really want to know about anything at all that you do.
    This goes without saying,but your political beliefs are not ours and never will be.So if you’re expecting us to shut up and let you rearrange America’s morals and laws,you WILL hear a resounding “HELL NO”,GUARANTEED.

  • jayare

    this is what happens when everyone wants to be in a group what ever happen to being a person in the u.s.when you are labled in a group you are just at a group,all they want is power.divide and conquer it is how the government controll us if we spend all are time fighting over dumb stuff they keep shipping us down the river

    • grayzel

      “divide and conquer it is how the government controll us if we spend all are time fighting over dumb stuff they keep shipping us down the river” Jay

      You are correct in this sentence. As a libertarian, I do not care what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms. When used as an in your face political game, I have a big problem. If the government wants to sanction homosexual marriage, go for it and get it over with. As a Messianic Rabbi I will openly speak out, write about and tell my objections to any one that will listen, that I think that life style is an offensive to me and my faith.

      • Momma M

        I too, will continue to openly speak my mind about these offenses. I have a gay brother, a gay daughter and a gay step-son… I love them all… But do I tolerate their life-style in my home? NO… They’re more then welcome to do as they wish in their own homes… Just like I am. But I don’t want to be told I HAVE TO BE NICE AND LIKE IT… because I DON’T!
        I feel the same way about so-called celebrites and their immoral heterosexual behavior on screen… The drive to be “politically correct” has driven this nation to indecency… on soooo many levels!