RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Attorney General and Republican candidate for governor Ken Cuccinelli said in a debate on Saturday that he stands by his statements that LGBT people are “soulless” and “self-destructive.”
“My personal beliefs about the personal challenges of homosexuality haven’t changed,” Cuccinelli said at the Virginia Bar Association convention debate against his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe.
McAuliffe had repeatedly demanded to know whether Cuccinelli still agrees with anti-gay statements he made in 2008 and 2009, but Cuccinelli refused to answer until the question was put to him directly by debate moderator Judy Woodruff.
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In a 2009 op-ed for the The Virginian Pilot, Cuccinelli wrote, “Homosexual acts are wrong. They’re intrinsically wrong.”
“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,” he said in 2008.
Cuccinelli headlines a trio of anti-gay candidates with a long history of marginalizing and demonizing LGBT people and hopes they will become Virginia’s next state leaders.
Among them as candidate for Lt. Governor is E.W. Jackson, a Chesapeake, Va., minister with a track record of vehemently anti-gay remarks, who has called LGBT people “perverse,” pedophiles, and sick.
Cuccinelli, who opposes marriage equality and workplace protections for LGBT citizens, has made headlines recently by asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate Virginia’s broad “crimes against nature” sodomy law that bans oral and anal sex among all adults.
During the debate, McAuliffe pledged his support for LGBT rights, promised to sign workplace protections into law and said that he would sign a marriage equality bill.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday found that 50 percent of registered voters support same-sex marriage compared to 43 percent who don’t, with a clear majority of women approving it.
And a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) poll released the week prior found a clear majority of Virginians – 55 percent – support marriage equality.