Monday, May 10, 2010

GOP’s risky anti-gay tactics in Supreme Court fight

Posted By on Mon, May 10, 2010 at 1:44 PM

That didn’t take long. President Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court earlier today, and the political circus is already in full swing. Republican lawmakers are already staking out their territory, and making it clear that the GOP intends to obstruct Kagan’s nomination as long as possible in order to score supposed political points with their conservative backers. Some Republicans in Congress say they’ll push Kagan to agree with them that the recently passed health care reform bill is unconstitutional. Others intend to hammer Kagan on her past support for gay/lesbian/transgender rights. Specifically, they’ll criticize Kagan’s actions as dean of Harvard Law School, when she refused to allow military recruiters on campus because the armed forces’ “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is discriminatory.

In fact, it looks as if the right wing, in its current overwrought, snarly state, could very well turn Kagan’s confirmation hearings into a dismal display of their own homophobia.

Many on the right assume that Kagan herself is a lesbian (unmarried woman, supports gay rights, is stout and has short hair — stereotypes rule!), which, in their sad little minds, means she is automatically unqualified to hand out food in a cafeteria, much less sit on the Supreme Court. Not two hours after Obama’s announcement, those conservative stalwarts in the American Family Association posted a blog entry that says Kagan must reveal her sexual preference and, if it turns out she’s a lesbian, she cannot be allowed to soil the Supreme Court, by God. The AFA blogger, Bryan Fischer warns, in scary tones, that “We cannot afford to have another sexually abnormal individual in a position of important civic responsibility,” and sounds the battle cry: “Social conservatives must rise up as one and say no lesbian is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court.”

The Americans For Truth group is also getting in on the Kagan Sexuality Inquisition action, demanding that Kagan answer their pressing, all-important question: “Are (or were) you a practicing homosexual?” We wish Kagan would send Americans For Truth a questionnaire of her own, asking them point blank, “Are you and your group a collection of practicing social Neanderthals?” but it probably won’t happen. Not to be out-queered by their ultra-conservative allies, Focus on the Family announced that it would not be open to a gay Supreme Court justice. That's a shock, huh?

Congressional Republicans are in full obstruction mode these days, and they seem to think that their brand of angry, vengeful rhetoric and delaying tactics will gain them votes in November. I think they continue to overestimate the amount of support for these far-right positions among Americans. The way I see it, there’s a very good chance that if Senate Republicans allow the rabid anti-gays in their party to dominate Kagan’s confirmation hearings, they’ll find out just how broadly out of touch they are with evolving American attitudes about gays and lesbians. Personally, I’d love to see Kagan get out of her chair at the upcoming hearings, walk over to whichever senator has the gall to ask her about her sexuality, and punch his face. But that’s just me.

In actuality, the GOP probably won’t need Kagan’s help to hurt itself during the hearings. And there’s certainly no way they’re going to be able to stop her — lesbian, straight, whatever — from becoming the third woman on the Supreme Court.

Elena Kagan: Go ahead, make my day — ask about my private life.
  • Elena Kagan: Go ahead, make my day — ask about my private life.

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