Glenn Greenwald makes the point a lot of out gay people have recently been screaming at the television:
The very notion that it is "outrageous" or "despicable" to inquire into a public figure's sexual orientation -- adjectives I heard repeatedly applied to those raising questions about Kagan -- is completely inconsistent with the belief that sexual orientation is value-neutral. If being straight and gay are precise moral equivalents, then what possible harm can come from asking someone, especially one who seeks high political office: "are you gay?" If one really believes that they are equivalent, then that question would be no different than asking someone where they grew up, whether they are married, or how many children they have. That's what made the White House's response to the initial claims that Kagan was gay so revealing and infuriating: by angrily rejecting those claims as "false charges," they were -- as Alex Pareene put it -- "treating lesbian rumors like allegations of vampiric necrophilia."
The double standards are pretty staggering:
It's ironic indeed that so many progressives -- who spent months during Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation process insisting that one's life experiences (growing up as a poor Puerto Rican in the South Bronx) play a crucial role in how one understands the claims of litigants -- are now demanding that sexual orientation be permitted to be kept hidden as though it's completely irrelevant to one's perspective. If there's nothing whatsoever wrong with being gay, why the double standard? Just as Sotomayor's background would undoubtedly affect her ability to understand (or "empathize" with) claims of discrimination or other forms of oppression, wouldn't the same be true of a judge's growing up gay -- or choosing to remain closeted?