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Virginia GOP Calls on Governor Terry McAuliffe to Defend State's Ban on Gay Marriage

After Attorney General Mark Herring's declaration this week that Virginia's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, dozens of Republican lawmakers have sent a letter to Governor Terry McAuliffe calling on him to defend it, the Washington Post reports:

Mcauliffe“Our attorney just quit on us,” said C. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah), one of 32 delegates who signed the letter. “I guess we need someone to stand up for us in court.”

The move put new pressure on McAuliffe (D) to involve himself with Attorney General Mark R. Herring’s decision Thursday to bow out of defending the ban. Herring’s decision was applauded in some quarters as a historic stand for civil liberties, and by others as a devious end run around the will of Virginia legislators and voters.

Although McAuliffe was an outspoken supporter of same-sex marriage during the campaign, a spokesman on Friday stuck with the hands-off posture the governor took when Herring (D) announced his plans, saying the governor had been out of the office all day and may not have seen the lawmakers’ request.

Every one of the delegates signing the letter, except for Johnny S. Joannou of Portsmouth, is Republican.

Watch Herring make his announcement HERE, if you missed it.


VA Gov. Terry McAuliffe Bans Discrimination Against LGBT Employees in First Executive Order

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Shortly after being sworn in, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order banning discrimination against LGBT state employees. It was McAuliffe's first official act as governor.

Said McAuliffe:

“My administration is committed to keeping Virginia open and welcoming to all who call our Commonwealth home. Executive Order Number 1 sets the tone for an administration that will not accept discrimination in any form, and one that will work tirelessly to ensure all Virginians have equal opportunity in the workplace, no matter their backgrounds, race, religion, or whom they love.”

The order "prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, political affiliation, or against otherwise qualified persons with disabilities in Virginia state government."

Watch McAuliffe's swearing in, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "VA Gov. Terry McAuliffe Bans Discrimination Against LGBT Employees in First Executive Order" »


Virginia Governor-Elect Terry McAuliffe's Victory Speech: VIDEO

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Terry McCauliffe beat homophobic Tea Party nutjob and attorney general Ken Cuccinelli last night in the Virginia Governor's race. McCauliffe won by less than 3 percentage points, a much smaller margin than was predicted.

Watch McAuliffe's victory speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

The NYT:

Mr. McAuliffe benefited from an electorate that was less white and less Republican than it was four years ago. He drew about as large a percentage of African-Americans as Mr. Obama did last year. Blacks accounted for one in five voters, according to exit polls conducted by Edison Research. Mr. Cuccinelli’s strong anti-abortion views also brought out opponents, with 20 percent of voters naming abortion as their top issue; Mr. McAuliffe overwhelmingly won their support. The top issue for voters was the economy, cited by 45 percent in exit polls.

Politico's take on what happened:

Cuccinelli actually won independents by 9 percentage points, 47 percent to 38 percent, according to exit polls conducted for a group of media organizations. They made up about one-third of the electorate.

“Obamacare helped close the gap,” said Richmond-based strategist Chris Jankowski, the president of the Republican State Leadership Committee.

Even before Cuccinelli delivered his concession speech, the candidate’s close allies were beginning to blame outside groups for not helping out more.

McAuliffe outraised Cuccinelli by almost $15 million, and he used the cash advantage to pummel him on the airwaves. A lack of resources forced the Republican to go dark in the D.C. media market during the final two weeks. The Republican National Committee spent about $3 million on Virginia this year, compared to $9 million in the 2009 governor’s race.

Watch McAuliffe's victory speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Virginia Governor-Elect Terry McAuliffe's Victory Speech: VIDEO" »


Terry McAuliffe Calls Out Ken Cuccinelli's Rabid Homophobia in Last Days of Virginia Governor Race

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Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli's abysmal and hateful position on gay people and gay rights were brought up by opponent Terry McAuliffe in a debate last week at Virginia Tech, the Washington Blade reports:

McAuliffe pointed out his Republican rival once described gay Virginians as “soulless human beings” in response to a question during an Oct. 24 debate at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg that Roanoke television station WDBJ sponsored.

“Who talks like that,” McAuliffe said. “There’s somebody in this audience who might be gay or has a friend who’s gay. You cannot grow and diversify our economy with this mean-spirited language.”

McAuliffe, who has publicly backed marriage rights for same-sex couples alongside the two other Democratic candidates for statewide office, further sought to differentiate himself from Cuccinelli during a campaign rally at Herndon Middle School on Monday at which former President Clinton spoke. U.S. Sen. Mark Warner; Congressman Gerry Connolly and state Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria), who chairs the Democratic Party of Virginia, also addressed those who attended the event.

“We must be a state where gay Virginians are treated equally,” McAuliffe said.

Recent polls show McAuliffe leading by a 51-39 percent margin.


Ken Cuccinelli: Gays And Lesbians Still 'Harmful To Society'

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Yesterday, Republican State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli reiterated his beliefs about gays and lesbians during a heated debate with his Virginia gubernatorial opponent Terry McAuliffe.

Politico reports on how Cuccinelli responded to a question by moderator Judy Woodruff in which she asked if he still agreed that homosexuality was “against nature and harmful to society":

“My personal beliefs about the personal challenges of homosexuality haven’t changed,” he said at one point. “What I want to do as governor is create an environment, including an economic environment, where every Virginian has the opportunity to succeed.”

“The notion that because I believe marriage ought to be protected, because I believe life begins at conception — just like hundreds of thousands of independents and Democrats — this isn’t just me, it isn’t just Republicans,” he said. “There are lots of Virginians, millions, perhaps, of Virginians, who share my sincerely held beliefs.”

He may not have seen the new poll released a few days ago which revealed that 50 percent of Virginians support same-sex marriage.

According to The Washington Post, pro-marriage equality supporter McAuliffe's stance on the topic: "On gay marriage, McAuliffe said he would sign a bill overturning Virginia’s ban on such unions if it reached his desk, but he said that was unlikely given the makeup of the General Assembly."

Watch a quick video recap of the debate, via The Washington Post, in which the parts related to gay marriage appear at the beginning, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Ken Cuccinelli: Gays And Lesbians Still 'Harmful To Society'" »


Poll: 50 Percent of Virginia Voters Support Same-Sex Marriage

A new Quinnipiac poll is out and reveals that 50 percent of Virginians support same-sex marriage and 43 percent oppose it.

Ken_cuccinelliAs far as the governor's race goes, Quinnipiac reports:

A yawning gender gap in the Virginia governor's race leaves Democrat Terry McAuliffe with a slight 43 - 39 percent lead over Republican State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

"Democrat Terry McAuliffe is ahead by a nose in this tight race, but half the electorate doesn't know enough about him to decide whether they view him favorably or unfavorably. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is somewhat better known with only a third of voters having no opinion about him," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Some breakdown of the numbers on marriage, via the AP:

Women who responded to the survey backed gay marriage 55 percent to 39 percent, but men opposed it 49 percent to 43 percent. Sixty-eight percent of self-identified Democrats supported gay marriage and 26 percent opposed it. Republican respondents opposed it by the same ratio.

Sixty percent of those with college degrees supported same-sex marriage and 34 percent of college grads opposed it. Among those with no college degree, 49 percent opposed it and 45 percent supported it. Catholics favored gay marriage 56 percent to 40 percent, while Protestants opposed it 57 percent to 36 percent. Among those who identified themselves as born-again evangelicals, 74 percent opposed it.

A majority of whites surveyed, 51 percent, supported gay marriage while black respondents opposed it 48 percent to 42 percent. Among voters age 18 to 29, 74 percent backed same-sex marriage, and 52 percent of those age 30 to 44 favor it. But among those 45 and older, majorities opposed it.

In the 2006 election, an amendment to Virginia's Constitution banning gay marriage passed 57 percent to 43 percent.


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