The Virginia GOP’s 2013 gubernatorial ticket is boasting two radically anti-gay figures whose views on LGBT rights are dramatically out-of-step with the majority of Virginians.
The two men are Ken Cuccinelli, who currently serves as the commonwealth’s Attorney General; and Bishop E.W. Jackson. Cuccinelli has advocated for archaic policies that roll back the clock on equality and harm LGBT Virginians, while Jackson has spoken out against gay people more bluntly – calling them “perverted…very sick people.”
“These candidates couldn’t be more out of step with the values that a vast majority of Virginia voters hold,” said Fred Sainz, HRC’s vice president of communications. “Ken Cuccinelli has attempted to take Virginia backwards during his tenure as Attorney General, at the expense of the livelihood of LGBT residents in his state. And the vitriol put forth by E.W. Jackson is offensive and utterly unbecoming of anyone hoping to hold elected office.”
In an interview with Pete LaBarbera, who heads up the anti-gay group Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, Jackson made the claim that all gay people were “perverted” and “very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally.” Jackson also claimed LGBT people were incapable of love: “When they talk about love they’re not talking about love, they’re talking about homosexual sex.” He went on to say that: “Homosexuality is a horrible sin, it poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of.”
In a video released last year, Jackson said gay people should just stay in the closet: “They can keep their homosexuality private.” In the same video, Jackson claimed Planned Parenthood caused more harm than the Ku Klux Klan ever did.
At the top of the ticket is Ken Cuccinelli. As Attorney General, Cuccinelli actually urged Virginia’s public colleges and universities to rescind policies that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation. Cuccinelli said the schools which had adopted such policies did so “without proper authority.”
Cuccinelli also has voiced his desire to legislate against LGBT people, even petitioning to keep archaic laws deemed unconstitutional on the books in Virginia. Cuccinelli has explained his rationale by saying: “My view is that homosexual acts…are wrong. They’re intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law-based country, it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that. … They don’t comport with natural law. I happen to think that it represents…behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society.”
“Both Cuccinelli and Jackson have made it clear that they see LGBT people as totally unworthy of the dignity and respect afforded to other Virginians under state law,” added Sainz. “It’s clear that these two are more concerned with pushing their outdated anti-gay agenda than they are with serving the best needs of their constituents.”
A majority of Virginia voters – 56 percent – support marriage equality. That’s a dramatic increase of 10 percent in just two years. The Democratic gubernatorial and lieutenant governor hopefuls all support marriage equality. In order to repeal the state constitutional amendment which prohibits not only marriage for same-sex couples but also other forms of relationship recognition, the legislature must pass a bill in two consecutive legislative sessions to place the repeal on the ballot.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.