Newsweek attempted to stir up some controversy this week with its cover, declaring President 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 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 out all six of the also-rans 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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