Newsweek attempted to stir up some controversy this week with its cover, declaring Barack Obama America's "first gay president" and giving the commander-in-chief a rainbow-colored halo. On Tuesday, the magazine put the rejected "gay president" cover concepts online, publishing six alternative versions on its Tumblr.
Among those left on the cutting-room floor: Obama standing in front of a rainbow-colored flag; the president holding a pair of wedding-cake grooms; and a rainbow flag flying above the White House--similar to the gay marriage cover the New Yorker published on Sunday. You can check all six of the "also-rans" out here.
Salon.com, meanwhile, challenged Newsweek's basic premise, arguing that Obama shouldn't be considered the nation's first "gay president" because our 15th president, James Buchanan, was gay.
Jim Loewen writes:
[Newsweek's] caption is a superficial way to characterize an important development of thought that the president--along with the country--has been making over recent years. It is also entirely wrong. Like the mini-furor a couple of months back about the claim that Richard Nixon was our first gay president, the story simply ignores that the U.S. already had a gay president more than a century ago.
There can be no doubt that James Buchanan was gay, before, during and after his four years in the White House. Moreover, the nation knew it, too--he was not far into the closet.
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