Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is finding his campaign for Governor to be far more problematic than he had presumed. Not only has he had to deal with a scandal affecting Governor Bob McDonnell, but he has had to deal with his own homophobic past. Of course, Cuccinelli is trying to minimize that, and basically pleading with his opponent to stop hitting him with it.
In a recent face off against Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe, Cuccinelli tried to run away from his virulently homophobic past saying “Look, I believe– I have some basic beliefs that are fundamental to me. But overwhelming proportion of my time as attorney general has been spent moving Virginia forward economically and protecting liberty and our constitution.”
The problem for Cuccinelli is that his attempts to downplay social issues ring hollow. During his time as Attorney General, he has demanded that public institutions of higher learning rescind non-discrimination policies aimed at LGBT people, opposed protections for LGBT Virginians, and attempted to recriminalize homosexuality.
Cuccinelli, as a state legislator, also co-sponsored a marriage bigotry amendment.
Terry McAuliffe, in the debate, reiterated his support for LGBT rights including saying that he would sign a bill into law granting same-sex couples marriage rights. This could only happen if the Virginia ban on same-sex marriage were to be struck down.
In that debate, Cuccinelli tried to deny his previous homophobic remarks even though he has tried to make use of them during the campaign. When McAuliffe brought up a 2008 speech where Cuccinelli said “When you look at the homosexual agenda, I cannot support something that I believe brings nothing but self-destruction, not only physically but of their soul,” Cuccinelli announced that “The soulless comment is offensively false.”
Cuccinelli was responding to a point made by McAuliffe about how Cuccinelli’s homophobia was jeopardizing Virginia jobs. McAuliffe noted that Northrup Grumman nearly moved their headquarters out of Virginia over Cuccinelli’s remarks. Cuccinelli claimed that this was false even though Northrup Grumman and others have gone on record saying that they might move their headquarters to Maryland or Delaware if Virginia continues to be virulently homophobic.
Cuccinelli then tried to fear monger by claiming that McAuliffe might follow the examples of other Democratic Governors and Attorney Generals and not support the marriage bigotry amendment if it goes to court.
He claimed that “I would note that my opponent appears poised, based on some of his comments — during the campaign, to not defend our state constitution. Now look, as attorney general, I’ve defended laws whether I like them or not. And as pointed out by a former Democrat attorney general, Tony Troy, a pattern for Terry, though, that’s been emerging is that he seems to think he gets to decide which laws and which parts of the Virginia Constitution that you’re obligated to defend as the Virginia governor.”
Of course, Cuccinelli is damned by his own words here. In 2009, he said that “I will not defend what I, in my judgment, deem to be an unconstitutional law.” “If I determine it not to be constitutional. I will not defend it. My first obligation is to the Constitution and the people of Virginia.”
Seems like Cuccinelli is panicking over the collapse of his campaign and his virulent hatred of LGBT people.