Republican Ken Cuccinellii is holding on to his anti-gay opinions.
During a gubernatorial debate this weekend against Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe, Cuccinellii repeatedly dodged questions about his anti-gay record.
On two occasions, McAuliffe pointed out that Cuccinellii called members of Virginia’s LGBT community ‘self-destructive’ and ‘soulless.’
Cuccinellii’s past homophobic policies include a campaign to reinstate the Crimes Against Nature law, which made oral or anal sex even between married couples a felony, and letters to Virginia colleges and universities requesting they don’t offer discrimination protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Cuccinellii also opposed a 2004 bill that gave private enterprises the opportunity to give medical benefits to the partners of their gay and lesbian employees.
LGBT rights activists tried to demonstrate the negative economic effects of such anti-gay policies.
In 2010, a Maryland senator requested that the headquarters of a massive aerospace and defense technology company be moved from Virginia to Maryland. The company, Northrop Grumman, had a record of affording benefits to its LGBT employees.
When the debate moderator directly asked Cuccinellii to respond to the comments about his anti-gay policies, he responded: ‘My personal beliefs about the personal challenges of homosexuality haven’t changed.’
He added that if elected as governor, he would endeavor to ‘create an environment’ where every Virginian had every economic opportunity available to them.
In response, his opposing candidate McAuliffe said he would make workplace discrimination illegal and do his best to legalize marriage equality in the state of Virginia.