Lincoln in Lavender

Happy Birthday Mr. President! Too bad you were a depressed bigot who was probably gay. Love, the CBS Early Show gang.

The CBS 'Early Show' tribute to Lincoln on Feb.12, the 2ooth anniversary of his birth, featured a two and a half minute segment dedicated to dispelling myths about Abraham Lincoln. The segment left viewers with a less-than-flattering portrait of our 16th president – including that he may have been a homosexual – and offered not one opposing view on the myths was presented.

Most egregious was the one-sided speculation about Lincoln's sexuality. NYU history professor Jeffrey Sammons said that “Lincoln actually did sleep in the same bed, uh, with a gentleman for a four year period.” Based upon that one line, host Maggie Rodriguez claimed that, “the question of Abraham Lincoln's sexuality still remains a mystery.”

While it is most likely true that Lincoln did sleep in the same bed with another man, in the 1800s, that was a common practice that held no sexual connotations. The segment didn't mention that Lincoln was married, or that he was heartbroken by the death of his first love, Ann Rutledge. Nowhere was it mentioned that this gay myth has been propagated by homosexuals who wish to project themselves onto Lincoln. CA Tripp, a famous sex researcher, psychologist and homosexual, wrote a book in 2003 called The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln in which he provides controversial “evidence” that Lincoln was gay. Tripp's book has been widely discredited, including by his original co-author, Philip Nobile. Nobile wrote in the Jan. 17 issue of The Weekly Standard that “the Gay Lincoln Theory fails any historical test.”

Two of the other “myths” were that Lincoln was “the great father of black people,” and that he might have been depressed. According to Sammons, “[Lincoln] indicated that he did not believe that, that blacks were equal to whites, said to have used the 'n' word in speeches and in letters.” And regarding his psyche, Rodriguez claimed that “Lincoln was revered as the strong, wartime president, but historians generally agree he suffered from clinical depression.”

At least those assertions have some grounding in the historical record. But for CBS to toss in dubious, discredited, self-serving conjecture about Lincoln's sexuality without qualifying or questioning it is inexcusable.