Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s opponents are seizing an opportunity: A day after his support of the state’s anti-sodomy law caused a stir in Virginia, a liberal opposition research group plans to launch a website to highlight some of his most eyebrow-raising statements.
As he mounts a bid for governor this year, Cuccinelli has been trying to downplay some aspects of his record by removing certain “issue” pages from his campaign site.
That inspired American Bridge 21st Century PAC to resurface Cuccinelli’s most conservative beliefs on KenOnTheIssues.com, a Tumblr shared first with TPM. It’s set to go live Thursday afternoon.
The site will prominently display Cuccinelli’s anti-gay rhetoric the day after news broke that his office petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to review a case throwing out the state’s sodomy ban.“Homosexual acts are wrong,” the site quotes Cuccinelli. “They’re intrinsically wrong… They don’t comport with natural law.” The full quote, which comes from an October 2009 Virginia-Pilot editorial, also contains Cuccinelli’s belief that “in a natural law based country it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that.”
Cuccinelli’s campaign did not respond when asked whether the attorney general still stands by these remarks.
A quick search reveals more episodes of Cuccinelli calling for the prohibition of sodomy. In 2004, he warned that gays want to “dismantle sodomy laws” and “get education about homosexuals and AIDS in public schools,” according to an article in the Washington Times.
Cuccinelli’s office said Wednesday that its petition in favor of the law is “not about sexual orientation” but rather about catching predators. In the case, a 47-year-old man was convicted of criminal solicitation for asking oral sex of a minor — oral sex being the crime he solicited, according to Virginia’s so-called “crimes against nature” law.
But given Cuccinelli’s past comments on gay rights, his desire to keep a sodomy ban on the books will give groups like American Bridge, as well as his Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe, something to hit him with. “This is just another example of Ken Cuccinelli ignoring the economy and instead focusing on his divisive ideological agenda,” McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin told TPM Wednesday.
It also puts Cuccinelli’s hostility to gay rights front-and-center as the country seems to be accelerating toward acceptance of gay marriage. The latest polls show Virginians are evenly split on the question of gay marriage.
“From the Democratic perspective, every week that [Cuccinelli’s] not talking about jobs is a win,” Pete Brodnitz, a Democratic pollster who worked on Tim Kaine’s 2012 Senate race, told TPM. Republicans need to move away from social issues, Brodnitz said, noting the damage done to the GOP brand in Virginia last year during the fight over transvaginal ultrasounds. This latest episode is “probably reinforcing people’s concerns” about the state GOP, he said.
In January, Republican Bill Howell, Virginia House of Delegates Speaker, told Politico that Republicans have done a “pretty good job” of downplaying social issues recently. His office did not respond to a request for comment about the sodomy case.
Here are a few more quotes from kenontheissues.com.
The birther comment: “You know, the speculation is Kenya. And that doesn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility.”
The abortion comment that used to be on his 2009 campaign website: “Most women who have abortions feel pressured into having them.”
From Cuccinelli’s 2013 book: “The biggest set of lawbreakers in America [is] the Obama administration. No other president, no other administration has had such a willful disregard for the law.”
And from just a few weeks ago: “Over time, the truth demonstrates its own rightness, and its own righteousness. Our experience as a country has demonstrated that on one issue after another. Start right at the beginning — slavery. Today, abortion.”