She's No Bridget Jones

By Baird, Julia | Newsweek, May 31, 2010 | Go to article overview

She's No Bridget Jones


Baird, Julia, Newsweek


Byline: Julia Baird

Kagan's sexuality? Case closed.

You know things are getting a little grim when Eliot Spitzer has to vouch for your heterosex-uality. "I did not go out with [Elena Kagan], but other guys did," he told Politico. "I don't think it is my place to say more." Indeed. Wonkette pounced on the story with glee--ELIOT SPITZER: I DID NOT PAY ELENA KAGAN FOR SEX. Which is a relief because that really would have complicated things.

The rather distracting debate about Kagan's sexuality reached fever pitch following a powerfully argued series of posts by gay blogger Andrew Sullivan, who insisted that Kagan's sexual orientation should be a matter of public record if she is going to be confirmed as a Supreme Court judge. "It is no more of an empirical question than whether she is Jewish," he argued. "If she were to hide her Jewishness, it would seem rightly odd, bizarre, anachronistic, even arguably self-critical or self-loathing. And yet we have been told by many that she is gay--and no one will ask directly if this is true and no one in the administration will tell us definitively."

The whispers--also fueled by social conservatives--seemed to only gain momentum after White House officials addressed them by calling them "inaccurate." Were they telling the truth? Were they actually suggesting it's a bad thing to be gay? Then The Wall Street Journal put a photo of Kagan playing softball on the front page, and TV pundits leaped: was Rupert Murdoch implying she was a lesbian? Because we all know straight girls can't play ball. Let's get one thing clear: it should not be an "accusation" to ask if someone is gay, nor a "charge," as a White House spokesman declared it to be. Being gay is not a crime, and not a shame. But it is still, for some, a private matter. For those people, it should be their decision whether, or when, to come out. If Kagan is a lesbian, the story should be her own. But now that the question has been posed, and an answer has been given, however indirectly, can we move on?

The unfortunate thing is, now that Kagan's love life is on the agenda, every date, awkward kiss, and broken relationship is of interest too. When Kagan's close friend Sarah Walzer emerged to insist Kagan was straight, things got a little depressing. She said Kagan had just not found the right guy: "She dated men when we were in law school, we talked about men--who was cute, who she would like to date. …

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