The suggestion that someone is gay is usually taken as a direct accusation of homosexuality. Only being gay is not automatically a disqualification for office anymore. Indeed, many places have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, and there are an increasing number of gay and lesbian officeholders at all levels of elected government. So why do we still think it’s bad to call someone a lesbian? Linda Hirshman, who admits to knowing nothing about the sexual orientation of Kagan, wraps up her interesting op-ed piece by saying:
Finally, and here’s a real dirty little secret, President Obama appointing an openly gay candidate for the Supreme Court would be political genius. Think about the prospect of watching the married Senator Ensign—who is under investigation for allegedly seeking lobbying work for the husband of his mistress—arguing that the high court nominee is “sinful” or “lacking in personal morality,” as the Focus on the Family suggests. The polls are clear: Regardless of their views on same sex marriage, most Americans do not think gays and lesbians should be discriminated against, and the numbers for gays on all issues are sky high among young voters. The Republicans don’t want to be caught in a Pat Buchanan-style culture war just as the mid-term elections loom, just like enough of them wanted to avoid the anti-Hispanic trap to confirm Justice Sotomayor. It’s a no-lose nomination.
There is nothing wrong with being gay (or lesbian). What hurts is the assumption that it hurts.