Yesterday morning, Jeff Sessions made news after he appeared on Morning Joe and said, of the pending SCOTUS nomination, "I don't think a person who acknowledges that they have gay tendencies is disqualified per se for the job." These remarks were then widely reported, because MY GOD! Gay tendencies no longer disqualify people for jobs PER SE. Is this what all the major civil rights victories of the 1960s felt like? Hollow and vaguely disingenuous?
Before we get caught up too much in Sessions' titanic magnanimity -- which was echoed later in the day by Focus On The Family, whose statement ("The issue is not their sexual orientation. It's whether they are a good judge or not") has me looking for wires -- we should ask ourselves: would it be okay to discuss another subset of Americans in this manner? Actually, before you lose yourself in contemplation (the short answer, however, is "no"), ask yourself this: "Isn't it telling that Sessions couldn't keep to his "Gay is OK" script for even half a day? Because later, on Fox News, Sessions said:
SESSIONS: Well, fundamentally, you don't want a nominee who is a one issue person, but you're looking for competence, integrity, a proven record, people that have the ability and judgment to serve on the court. So I think everybody should be given a fair evaluation. Republicans do not believe in identity politics. We do not believe in that kind of quota approach. Let's just bring the nominee and make sure that they treat everybody fairly, regardless of what persuasion they may have.
Q: On the question of a gay nominee, one person is noted as saying that he believes it is a bridge too far to have a gay nominee.
SESSIONS: Well, I think that would be a big concern that the American people might feel -- might feel uneasy about that. It is a matter for the president to decide.
Sessions is thus ascribing the opinions of Sen. John Thune (R-S.C.) to the "American people." And Thune's opinion on the matter has the aroma of a litmus test:
"I know the administration is being pushed, but I think it would be a bridge too far right now," said GOP Chief Deputy Whip John Thune. "It seems to me this first pick is going to be a kind of important one, and my hope is that he'll play it a little more down the middle. A lot of people would react very negatively."
Yes, in America, it's perfectly acceptable to go all out in defense of torturers and war criminals -- they made TOUGH DECISIONS. But say you dare suggest that we allow a member of the GBLT community to serve on the Supreme Court? Out comes the "per se," and the temporary magnanimity, all of which will be put on hold if it turns out the American people are uneasy. I mean, who knows what might happen if someone spilled THE GAY all over America's precious writs of certiorari?
Anyway, as far as this being a "bridge too far," have Thune or Senator Jeff Sessions, actually seen recent polls about what Americans would do with our most precious natural resource: THE CHILDREN?
Comedian Ellen DeGeneres and her actress partner Portia de Rossi topped a poll that asked American moms which celebrities they would feel most comfortable leaving their kids with.
DeGeneres and de Rossi, who married in August when same-sex marriages in California were briefly legalized but who have no children, beat Angelina Jolie and partner Brad Pitt with their eclectic brood of six in the ParentDish.com poll of more than 10,000 moms.
The TV chat show host and de Rossi took 31 percent of votes with singleton Jennifer Aniston coming in second at 22 percent. Jolie and Pitt got 18 percent of votes, while chat show queen Oprah Winfrey got just nine percent.
Hardly sounds like a bridge too far! Anyway, with the copious use of Latin, the omnipresent oral arguments, and the robes designed after characters from Gilbert and Sullivan, I think that Thune and Sessions had better re-examine where the Supreme Court lies on the Kinsey Scale, before they bust out the litmus.