From what I've read so far, I assume Lincoln was gay. I assume Carl Sandburg believed Lincoln was gay when he wrote:
"Month by month in stacks and bundles of fact and legend, I found invisible companionships that surprised me. Perhaps a few of these presences lurk and murmur in this book."
Sandburg also wrote that Lincoln and Joshua Speed had "streaks of lavender, spots soft as May violets."
So, assume Lincoln was gay. Now, what else do we think? Should we conclude gayness made him do the things he did as President?
[Mary Todd Lincoln biographer Jean H.] Baker said that his outsider status would explain his independence and his ability to take anti-Establishment positions like the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation. As a homosexual, she said, "he would be on the margins of tradition."
"He is willing to be independent, to do what is right," she said. "It is invested in his soul, in his psyche and in his behavior."
Will it -- should it -- change arguments about politics today?
Larry Kramer, the author and AIDS activist, said that Mr. Tripp's book "will change history."
"It's a revolutionary book because the most important president in the history of the United States was gay," he said. "Now maybe they'll leave us alone, all those people in the party he founded.
More important that the question whether Lincoln was gay is the question of what use we will make of that piece of information.
UPDATE: Betsy Newmark writes: "I would respond to Ann Althouse that such discussions say a lot more about people today than they do about Lincoln." I agree.