Is it homophobic for the White House to deny the ‘charge’ that Elena Kagan is gay?

It’s an interesting question. Is it homophobic to get upset that someone calls you gay? And is it homophobic to call that label a ‘charge’? Activist Paul Sousa says yes:

Gays demand White House apology for homophobic remarks
— Advocates target White House officials Ben Labolt and Anita Dunn —

BOSTON, Mass. (April 16th, 2010) – CBS News recently republished a column claiming that possible Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is gay. White House officials Ben LaBolt and Anita Dunn responded to such “charges” swiftly and with blatant homophobia. Equal Rep, a grassroots organization that lobbies for the equal treatment and consideration of openly LGBT candidates, has organized a national petition campaign demanding those White House officials issue an apology.

Equal Rep is urging participants to sign the letter below and forward it to Brian Bond, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and LGBT Liaison:


*A 2010 CBS news poll indicates that 40% of Americans would oppose a Supreme Court Justice who happens to be gay regardless of qualifications.

*Gay Americans have faced a history of invidious discrimination.

*An openly gay Supreme Court Justice has yet to be nominated or appointed in the entire history of the United States.

*106 of the past 111 Supreme Court Justices of the United States have been heterosexual, white men.

*White House officials responded swiftly and with blatant homophobia to the mere suggestion that candidate Elena Kagan might be gay — Anita Dunn said: “The fact that they’ve chosen to become enablers of people posting lies on their site tells us where the journalistic standards of CBS are in 2010.” Spokesman Ben LaBolt said the column “made false charges.” “Charges” is an extremely loaded word that implies something very negative.

*Diversity characteristics, including one’s sexual orientation, are and should be deemed positive factors in a candidate’s nomination to the Supreme Court and not a negative characteristic as White House officials have strongly implied.

NOW, therefore I demand those White House officials apologize for their extremely insensitive and homophobic remarks and state that the White House does indeed view sexual orientation as a positive diversity characteristic. Further, that any and all qualified candidates for the Supreme Court who happen to be gay will indeed be considered.”

For more information on Equal Rep, please visit

I’m not sure where I stand. It’s interesting if you see what former White House official Anita Dunn said about this:

CBS initially refused to pull the posting, prompting Anita Dunn, a former White House communications director who is working with the administration on the high court vacancy, to say: “The fact that they’ve chosen to become enablers of people posting lies on their site tells us where the journalistic standards of CBS are in 2010.” She said the network was giving a platform to a blogger “with a history of plagiarism” who was “applying old stereotypes to single women with successful careers.”

And she has a point. There are old stereotypes about tough single women being labeled as lesbians.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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