Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who has come under criticism for opposing a change in Virginia's sodomy laws, portrayed himself Wednesday not as anti-homosexual but as a leader seeking to protect children from predators.
Virginia’s Republican candidate for governor announced he had launched a website defending the Commonwealth’s anti-sodomy legislation as an “anti-child predators law.”
The site, www.vachildpredators.com, shows 90 sex offenders who were prosecuted under Virginia’s anti-sodomy law and, Cuccinelli’s camp claims, might not show up on the sex offender registry if the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t overturn a decision declaring the law unconstitutional.
The website calls out Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, for “playing politics instead of protecting our children.”
But Democrats are claiming that Cuccinelli’s support of the law is another example of his extreme social stances and anti-gay agenda.
"Everyone supports strong laws to protect children and, like most Virginians, Terry believes our laws should be updated to both conform with Court rulings and allow prosecution of predators,” said Josh Schwerin, McAuliffe’s press secretary, in a statement.
The issue came to light in March, when a federal appeals court panel ruled that Virginia’s anti-sodomy law, which bans anal and oral sex, was unconstitutional under a 2003 Supreme Court Ruling. The case involved a 47-year-old man soliciting oral sex from a 17-year-old girl.
Cuccinelli appealed the decision, urging the Supreme Court to look at the case. He argued that the law would protect minors and had “nothing to do with sexual orientation or private acts between consenting adults.”
But as a state senator in 2004, Cuccinelli voted against a bill excluding private consensual acts from the law.
And while Cuccinelli claims the issue has nothing to do with gay rights, Democrats are taking the opportunity to highlight Cuccinelli’s opposition to them in the past.
“As he admitted as recently as 2009, Ken Cuccinelli is one of the only elected officials in America who believes that being gay should result in criminal prosecution and jail time,” Schwerin said. “Cuccinelli's refusal to support a mainstream legislative update to Virginia laws reflects his extreme agenda and uncompromising approach.”
In a statement, Anna Nix, press secretary for the Cuccinelli campaign, said, “It is sad and unfortunate the day has come that Democrats attack someone for keeping our children safe.”
Cuccinelli has been on the receiving end of a number of attacks from Democrats in the last few days for his views on violence against women and his office’s involvement in a dispute over royalties from natural gas mining.
He and McAuliffe will face off in the first official debate of the election on Saturday, July 20, at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Va.