Virginia attorney general and gubernatorial hopeful Ken Cuccinelli this weekend affirmed previous statements that he believes being gay is harmful to society.
During his 2009 campaign for attorney general, Cuccinelli infamously stated:
My view is that homosexual acts, not homosexuality, but homosexual acts are wrong. They’re intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law based country itís appropriate to have policies that reflect that. … They don’t comport with natural law. I happen to think that it represents (to put it politely; I need my thesaurus to be polite) behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society.
Cuccinelli affirmed for debate moderator Judy Woodruff on Saturday that “My personal beliefs about the personal challenges of homosexuality haven’t changed.”
With all that in mind, here are five ways that Cuccinelli has repeatedly demonstrated he is a danger to rationality, science, civil rights and, indeed, how it is he who stands to be harmful to Virginia’s society if he is voted in as governor.
Briefly, and as many will know, Cuccinelli has tried to invoke the state’s anti-sodomy law to prosecute a man who received oral sex from two teenagers, contending the anti-sodomy law is “an important tool that prosecutors use to put child molesters in jail.”
There’s just one problem. Since Lawrence v. Texas, which effectively decriminalized homosexuality throughout the United States in 2003, anti-sodomy laws have been unenforcable.
Cuccinelli contends this is unjust and wants the courts to look again at the decision. He’s appealed his case to the Supreme Court.
To put this in perspective, Cuccinelli wants the Supreme Court to look again at a major gay rights decision simply because he wishes to be able to exploit an aspect of the law that would allow him to invoke harsher penalties against potential sex offenders.
Given that Cuccinelli just launched a website on the issue, he clearly feels that even if the courts won’t back him, Virginia’s voting public might and in that attempting to frame this issue as one where he is protecting the state’s children while his democratic opponent won’t.
Some have defended Cuccinelli on this, saying it is appropriate for the AG to want to use the full weight of the law. They also cite that he has repeatedly said the law would not be used against consenting gay couples due to the Supreme Court’s previous ruling and much in the same way that it would not be used to prosecute heterosexuals engaging in non vaginal sex.
The problem, of course, is that this issue presents itself against the backdrop of all of Cuccinelli’s other extreme and questionable decisions, not to mention his use of the AG’s office to launch personal crusades. Speaking of which:
Just weeks into his new position as AG and Cuccinelli issued an opinion to notify state universities that, in his view, they could not exceed state law by offering gay employees discrimination protections, saying that it was the job of legislators to decide protected classes and not individual universities.
Protests were mounted and the universities warned this would make them less competitive and would cost them in terms of attracting talent. They also noted that throughout the U.S., universities use state discrimination protections as a minimum standard and not a cap.
To be clear, no one had complained about the nondiscrimination provisions. Cuccinelli had simply felt the issue so pressing it needed to be commented on.
Cuccinelli went on to issue opinions to try to prevent the Board of Social Services from adopting anti-discrimination provisions. He was successful there, but failed to stop the†Virginia Board of Juvenile Justice, which chose to defy him on a similar nondiscrimination measure.
3) Cuccinelli is a Staunch Climate Science Denier
Examples of this are plentiful, but a few highlights include:
- His two year (dubious) investigation and, some would say hounding, of University of Virginia Climate scientist Michael Mann, which the state supreme court had to shut down (.pdf) with a rebuke that Cuccinelli was attempting to exceed his authority as attorney general;
- that he has†sued to prevent the EPA from regulating fossil fuel pollution that causes global warming, contending the science does not support the EPA’s goals despite the fact that, well, it clearly and demonstrably does;
- that he†rolled back Virginia’s clean energy program;
- that his campaign for governor has received substantial financial contributions from fossil-fuel energy companies.
There’s also a point at which aggressive ignorance becomes painful, and that point was reached when Cuccinelli began asking audiences to hold their breaths so as not to emit carbon dioxide, a “clever” swipe at the EPA he has used while talking at Tea Party gatherings.
In 2012, the Virginia Board of Health caved to pressure from Cuccinelli and incumbent Governor†Bob McDonnell (R) to vote in favor of adopting regulations†designed to drive abortion providers out of business and out of the state. The new requirements included making clinics comply with the same architectural standards for new hospitals.
Originally the board had resisted, saying it would only apply that standard to new clinics. Cuccinelli escalated the dispute by waving various legal sanctions if the board didn’t comply.
This push dates back to 2010 when Cuccinelli, just months into his position at AG, issued one of his now infamous opinions and began pressuring the Virginia Board of Health to tighten its grip on abortion access without legislation.
It’s little surprise that Cuccinelli opposes Obamacare.
In fact, he was among the first to launch a lawsuit challenging its provisions, even going so far as to ask the Supreme Court of the United States to hear his challenge on an expedited basis. His request was denied.
Cuccinelli has specifically characterized the Obamacare birth control benefit portion of the law as an attack on the Roman Catholic Church and wider religious freedom. He told radio host Steve Deace earlier this year that business owners should be prepared to go to jail rather than comply.
There you have just five reasons Cuccinelli could be classed as harmful to Virginians and wider society, and there are sure to be several more as Cuccinelli ramps up the rhetoric during his run for governor.
As a parting bonus, however, we leave you with Cuccinelli’s 2010 decision that the Virginia state seal, which depicts†Roman goddess Virtus wearing a blue tunic draped over one shoulder with her left breast exposed, was just too darn pornographic to be family-friendly.
Cuccinelli attempted to offer an edited version for his campaign pins, but was soon forced to walk back on the issue.
Image credit: Thinkstock.