The curious case of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s lesbian rumors

President Obama Announces His Nominee For Supreme Court Justice

The question of  Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s sexuality has spun the internet and the White House into quite a tizzy.

The situation came to a head when the White House asked CBS to take down a blog post from conservative blogger Ben Domenech, who mentioned that Kagan was an “out lesbian,” and unlike some conservative bloggers, meant that in a positive light. The post was cross-posted at CBS from the New Ledger, and you can still read the full post there.

Of course, Domenech’s claim that Kagan is a lesbian is unsubstantiated (Domenech was repeated what he’s heard from Havard gossip, and even The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan seems to think she might be gay), but the White House fought back against it in a peculiar way that doesn’t come off sounding progressive or even tolerant concerning gay rights. White House spokesman Ben LaBolt claimed that CBS had made “false charges.” It is one thing to say that calling someone gay is false, and another to qualify it as a charges. It’s kind of . . .  homophobic.

We may never know if Elena Kagan is gay. If she is, she and her partner may forever remain silent. But the problem at the heart of this matter is that it’s such a big deal. It shouldn’t be. As Andrew Sullivan points out, it should be like asking someone if they’re of Irish descent, a simple yes or no and move on. If that were the question at hand, the White House would definitely not balk at “false charges” of being Irish.