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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 24, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 21
Mixed signals in Virginia - GOP nearly split on marriage but chooses homophobic candidates
Section One
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Mixed signals in Virginia - GOP nearly split on marriage but chooses homophobic candidates

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A new Washington Post poll released May 20 shows that a solid majority of Virginia voters believe 'it should be legal for gay couples to get married.' Virginia Republicans seem to be bucking the trend, however, choosing two notorious anti-Gay politicians to lead their ticket in the November election.

According to the poll, 56% of respondents favor equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, while only 33% oppose them. This represents a 20-point shift in public opinion since a similar poll in May 2011.

As expected, Virginia Democrats approved of same-sex marriage overwhelmingly - 75% to 21% - but the surprise is that even Republican voters were much more evenly split than in the past. Forty percent of Republicans agreed with legalizing same-sex marriage, with 47% opposed.

MASSIVE SHIFT
In 2006, Virginia's Amendment One, defining marriage as 'a union between one man and one woman,' won handily, 57% to 43%. Eighty-five percent of Republicans voted for that measure. Comparison between this month's poll and the 2006 vote shows a 63-point swing in Republican opinion on marriage.

In the latest poll, self-identified independents also favored marriage equality, 56% to 33%.

The Republican nominee for governor, current Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, is decidedly opposed to marriage equality, however. In fact, Cuccinelli's record on LGBT rights could be described as dismal.

In 2010, Cuccinelli declared that 'Gays are a detriment to our culture.' In 2011, he ordered the Virginia Board of Social Services to deny adoption rights to same-sex couples. That same year he fired an Atlanta law firm working for the state of Virginia because it had declined to defend DOMA for House Speaker John Boehner's BLAG (the so-called Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group).

Earlier this year, Cuccinelli unsuccessfully tried to uphold Virginia's 'sodomy' law, in spite of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas that it unconstitutionally violates the right to privacy.

OLD-SCHOOL BIGOT
Cuccinelli's running mate, E.W. Jackson, is, if anything, even more anti-Gay. At various times, Jackson has referred to Gays and Lesbians as 'perverted,' 'degenerate,' 'spiritually darkened,' and 'frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally, and emotionally.'

Same-sex attraction 'poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of,' Jackson has charged.

Jackson also called for the reintroduction of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'

'The military has been decimated by this Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender [sic] policy that has now been implemented. It's an abomination and it's only going to weaken us militarily and they need to undo it,' he said.

In November, Cuccinelli will face off against Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chair and longtime ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton. A Quinnipiac poll taken May 8-13 shows McAuliffe ahead of Cuccinelli 43% to 38%, with a 2.7% margin of error.

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