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Cuccinelli reaffirms opposition to same-sex marriage

Doesn’t see Va. anti-gay law changing ‘anytime soon’

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Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade
Gay News, Washington Blade, Gay Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli on Friday reiterated his opposition to same-sex marriage during an interview with a D.C. television station about his new book.

“Virginians decided this in 2006 that we were going to respect traditional marriage,” he said in response to a question on News Talk with Bruce DePuyt about whether a lesbian couple raising children should receive equal treatment under the law during a segment on his new book. “I don’t see that changing anytime soon.”

DePuyt then asked Cuccinelli whether he “would leave gay-headed families out in the cold.”

“Well I certainly wouldn’t phrase it that way, but what we treat as a married couple is one man and one woman in Virginia,” Cuccinelli said. “That’s in our constitution and it passed with a pretty overwhelming margin.”

Cuccinelli, who will likely face former Democratic National Committee Chair Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s 2013 gubernatorial election, spoke with DePuyt a day after same-sex marriage supporters gathered in Arlington, Charlottesville, Hampton, Richmond and Winchester to rally against the state constitutional ban on nuptials for gays and lesbians that Virginia voters approved in 2006. A Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee last month killed a bill sponsored by state Del. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) that would have repealed the Marshall-Newman Amendment.

Cuccinelli was also among those who spoke at an anti-gay marriage event at a Manassas church last October to which the Washington Blade was denied access.

“It’s ironic that the author of a book entitled ‘The New Fight for American Liberty’ continues to oppose any kind of legal recognition for people to legally affirm their love to each other,” Surovell told the Washington Blade in response to Cuccinelli’s comments. “Last year, polls showed that 65 percent of Virginians supported legal recognition of same-sex relationships. Ken Cuccinelli is increasingly isolated and out of touch in his point of view.”

A spokesperson for Cuccinelli’s campaign did not immediately return the Blade’s request for comment.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Beth thompson

    February 16, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Any guy that is talking about a 2006 vote against Gay marriage, which was 7 years ago and thinks that the country and even Virginia has advanced in 7 years is hiding something. I bet there are many public restrooms between his home and office that he has been having frequent restroom stops at to find companionship. Typical closet case guy who condemns gays in hopes that it will turn the focus away from him that people think he’s gay and that people will believe that him being Anti-gay makes him straight. Someone needs to let this clown know that in the 1970s, 80s and 90s that may have worked, but in 2013 any guy that goes around condemning gays is really GAY and especially the republicans.
    We haven’t had a closet case gay republican caught in February yet. Someone needs to follow this guy with a camera and catch him on film and get him to confess his bigotry and expose him since he is harming people by refusing to allow loving gay couples to marry and be committed to each other.

    • gary47290

      February 18, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      The 2006 vote was 57 anti-Gay, 43 pro-Gay. That is hardly a settled issue, and continued discussion will happen whether Cucinelli wants to or not.

  2. Dwayne Byrum

    February 18, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Hmmm…but Cuccinelli has no problem promoting and giving personal money to his catholic religion which has been proven to help cover up child abuse and pedophilia? Grrrrrrr

  3. LeslieDF

    February 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    When asked about a couple raising kids, “whether he ‘would leave gay-headed families out in the cold’.”

    Cuccinelli says: “Well I certainly wouldn’t phrase it that way, but what we treat as a married couple is one man and one woman in Virginia,” “That’s in our constitution and it passed with a pretty overwhelming margin.”

    See how there’s two sides to every mouth? Marriage is one man and one woman. A man and a woman raise kids. Opps, same-sex couples raise kids, too. A married couple is one man and one woman, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

    “Virginians decided this in 2006.” Some voters in an election elect him in one year, too. Does he get to be AG (or any other office holder) forever?

  4. Michael Voisinet

    February 20, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    These same sex couples most certainly should not engage in any kind of same sex relationship at all period. Homosexuality is not only contrary to Biblical teachings it is also in direct contradiction of Gods Laws as well. Homosexuality is considered sodomy.

    Sodomy is also in direct contradiction of Gods Laws. A man should not engage in sexual intercourse with a man. Nor shall a woman engage in sexual intercourse with a woman.

    If you want my honest opinion I think that all same sex marriages should be abolished completely. Those are my sentiments exactly. God has instituted marriage between a man and a woman and the procreation of children.

    And it shall not be violated in any way, shape or form. What these particular individuals are doing is totally defiling the marriage bed as a direct result of their most despicable acts. What these particular individuals are doing is not only in direct contradiction of Gods Laws it is also in direct violation of human nature as well.

    If God would have intended for men to be totally engaged in a same sex marriage He would have created Adam and Steve and not Adam and Eve. In the Catholic Church they always emphasize that same sex couples deserve concern and respect. They further contend that you should hate the sin but love the sinner.

    Sure, we should love and respect these particular individuals. But we must completely refrain from any further association with these particular individuals at all times. Yes, we should love and forgive these particular individuals.

    But we must be completely leery of them each and every time. In the Catholic Church homosexuality is considered a mortal sin. And you most certainly should not receive the Sacraments if you are in the state of mortal sin.

    If in the event that you do receive the Sacraments while in the state of mortal sin you most certainly receiving them unworthily. And you are most certainly receiving them under very false pretenses. If you so desire to receive the Sacraments once again you must go to confession on Saturday Afternoon and confess your sins to God.

    And you must make full amends for what you have done. After you have received full absolution for your sins and are truly repentant of them then you will be deemed worthy to receive the Sacraments and not before. You must fully resolve not to commit the same sins over and over again.

    As the old saying goes: Actions do speak louder than words. Showing that you are truly sorry is much more important than the actual words used.

    Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. It's psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

    The number of men and women who have deep seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

    Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

    Leviticus 18:22: You will not have intercourse with a man as you would with a woman. This is a hateful thing.

    Let us all pray that homosexuality comes to an abrupt end effective immediately.

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Va. businessman apologizes for burning of rainbow flag poster

‘Shocked and horrified’: Ashburn incident caught on video

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Organizers of an event where a Pride symbol was burned say the incident was a misunderstanding.

The owner of a Virginia technology company that hosted a private Veterans Day party on the grounds of an Ashburn, Va., brewery in which a company employee used a flame-throwing device to ignite a rainbow flag poster said the selection of the poster was a mistake and he and his company have no ill will toward the LGBTQ community.

The Washington Blade learned about the poster burning from a customer of the Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn, where the incident took place on its outdoor grounds. The customer made a video of the incident with his cell phone and sent a copy of the video to the Blade.

The video, which includes an audio recording, shows a man using a hand-held flame-throwing device to ignite the rainbow poster, which was hanging from a cable and appeared to be mounted on cardboard or a thin sheet of wood. Bystanders can be heard laughing and cheering as the poster is set on fire.

The poster consisted of a variation of the LGBTQ Pride rainbow flag that included the word “love” configured from an upper white stripe on the rainbow symbol.

The customer who took the video, who has asked not to be identified, thought the decision to set the poster on fire was a sign of disrespect if not hatred toward a longstanding symbol of LGBTQ equality and pride.

Chris Burns, Old Ox Brewery’s president, shared that view, telling the Blade he and his staff were “shocked and horrified” when they learned later that a rainbow flag poster had been burned on the brewery’s grounds. Burns said Old Ox supports the LGBTQ community and participated in LGBTQ Pride month earlier this year.

He said the company that held the private party paid a fee to hold the event on the brewery’s grounds, but the brewery did not know a rainbow poster would be burned.

“I’m mortified that our event was interpreted in this way,” said Nate Reynolds, the founder and partner of Hypershift Technologies LLC, the Falls Church, Va.-based technology company that organized the Nov. 11 party at Old Ox Brewery. “I can assure you that ZERO ill-will or offense was meant,” Reynolds told the Blade in a Nov. 24 email.

“We held a small private party for a few clients, which included a demonstration of Elon Musk’s Boring Company ‘Not a Flamethrower,’” he said in his message. He was referring to one of billionaire businessman Elon Musk’s companies that specializes in boring through the ground to create tunnels for cars, trains, and other purposes. 

“After so many being isolated during COVID, we wanted to have an event that was lighthearted and to some small effect, silly,” Reynolds said in his message to the Blade.

According to Reynolds, in thinking about what should be used for “fodder” for the flame-thrower, he went to a Five Below discount store and purchased items such as stuffed animals and posters, including a “Space Jam” movie poster as well as what he thought was a poster of the British rock group The Beatles.

“When I pulled the Beatles poster out of the tube it was instead the ‘Love’ poster,” he said, referring to the rainbow flag poster the Blade asked him about in an earlier email.

“All I focused on was the ‘Love’ wording and not the rainbow and did not draw the conclusion that the poster was an icon that represents the LGBTQ community,” Reynolds said. “It was my own ignorance of not connecting the symbolism of the poster. If I had realized it was a symbol of the LGBTQ community, I would not have used it,” he said.

“I feel terrible, and I want to emphasize that I am solely responsible for this mistake – not the Old Ox Brewery,” he wrote in his message. “Nobody at Old Ox had anything to do with this activity.”

Reynolds added, “Hate has no place in my heart, and I sincerely apologize for any offense that could have been drawn from what I now realize was poor judgement on my part. I simply didn’t correlate this poster with the LGBTQ pride symbol.”  

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Before Reynolds issued his statement of apology, Burns, the Old Ox Brewery co-owner, told the Blade in an email he was “saddened and upset” over the rainbow poster burning on the grounds of his brewery.

“We do not wish to benefit from this event,” he said in his email message. “Therefore, Old Ox is donating 100% of the revenue generated from the private event to GLSEN.”

GLSEN is a national LGBTQ advocacy group that focuses on education and support for LGBTQ youth. Burns said Old Ox Brewery also donated proceeds from a Pride month event it organized earlier this year to GLSEN.

LGBTQ activists and organizations contacted by the Blade said they were unfamiliar with the variation of the rainbow flag with the word “love” that was the subject of the poster burning incident. The poster is available for sale at Five Below stores in the D.C. metropolitan area for $5.

Small print writings on the poster show it is produced by Trends International LLC, which describes itself on its website as “the leading publisher and manufacturer of licensed posters, calendars, stickers and social stationery products.” The Blade couldn’t immediately determine who designed the poster.

 The video of the poster burning incident can be viewed here:

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Fairfax schools returns LGBTQ-themed books in high school libraries

Review found ‘no pedophilia’ in texts as critics claimed

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(Book cover insert courtesy of Amazon)

The Fairfax County Public Schools announced on Tuesday that following a detailed review by two committees appointed by school officials it has returned two LGBTQ themed books to its high school libraries that had been temporarily withdrawn after being challenged by critics who claimed they included sexually explicit content inappropriate for students.

The two books, “Lawn Boy,” a novel by author Jonathan Evison, and “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” which is described as an illustrated autobiography by non-binary author Maia Kobabe, each contain descriptions of sexual acts.

But supporters of the books have argued that they have won praise by literary critics and, while describing intimate relationships, they tell stories that do not fall into the category of pornography.  

Fairfax County Public Schools, the name used for the county’s public school system, on Tuesday said in a statement that a thorough review of the books by two committees consisting of educators, school officials, parents and some students found that neither book contained content that could be considered to depict pedophilia as claimed by some parents and others opposing the two books.

School officials announced they had temporarily withdrawn the two books from school libraries following a Sept. 23 meeting of the Fairfax County School Board where strong objections to the two books were raised by parents.

“Two books that were subject to formal challenge have been deemed appropriate for high school readers following a two-month review process and will be reinstated to Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) libraries,” Tuesday’s statement by the school system says.

“The decision reaffirms FCPS’s ongoing commitment to provide diverse reading materials that reflect our student population, allowing every child an opportunity to see themselves reflected in literary characters,” the statement continues. “Both reviews concluded that the books were valuable in their potential to reach marginalized youth who may struggle to find relatable literary characters that reflect their personal journey,” the statement says.

The statement says the final decision to reinstate the books was made by Noel Klimenko, the Fairfax County Public Schools’ assistant superintendent for its Instructional Services Department.

The two books have received favorable reviews in various literary publications. Both have received the American Library Association’s Alex Award, an annual award that recognizes the year’s 10 books written for adults that the association says have a special appeal to young adults ages 12 through 18.

“The robust committee process took place over several weeks and considered whether the books flouted regulations by being obscene or harmful to juveniles as defined by the Code of Virginia,” the school system statement says. “The members also considered the work in line with an excerpt from the FCPS Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook pertaining to possessing obscene visual imagery as defined in the Code of Virginia,” the statement says.

“After careful consideration, neither books were deemed to have fallen foul of these regulations,” it concludes.

The decision by Fairfax school officials to reinstate the two books came about six weeks after more than 425 LGBTQ students and allies from over 30 Fairfax County public high schools sent a letter to the school board and the school system’s superintendent urging them to reinstate the two books.

The Pride Liberation Project, a coalition of LGBTQ and allied students in Fairfax County, organized the joint letter.

“Student representatives from over 30 schools, including nearly every high school in Fairfax County Public Schools, have signed this letter, and many of us are students of color, low-income, gender expansive and not out to our families and communities,” the letter states.

“We are writing to ask you to reject calls to remove Maia Kobabe’s ‘Gender Queer’ and Jonathan Evison’s ‘Lawn Boy’ from Fairfax County Public Schools libraries,” the letter says.

It points out that “hundreds of books in our schools already depict heterosexual relationships and physical intimacy,” and says singling out LGBTQ themed books with similar stories of intimacy for rejection is unfair.

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Transgender Zimbabwean woman in Md. wins asylum case

Mattie Tux Horton lives in Rockville

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Mattie Tux Horton, right, with her lawyer Ankush Dhupar in Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy of Mattie Tux Horton/Facebook)

A transgender woman from Zimbabwe who lives in Rockville won her asylum case in late October after living in the U.S. for the past five years. 

Mattie Tux Horton was represented by Ankush Dhupar from the Los Angeles law firm Paul Hastings LLP.

“I feel at ease,” said Horton. “Although a lot is going on in the [United States], it’s [significantly] different compared to where I’m coming from.”

Horton said that she now considers the U.S. to be her home. 

Although she has been living in Maryland for a while now, receiving asylum stripped away the anxiety associated with returning to Zimbabwe had the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency denied her request. 

With protection from the U.S. government, Horton gets to live in a safe environment and without the vile treatment she encountered in Zimbabwe because of her transness.

In her hometown of Bulawayo, Horton faced constant public humiliation and was once fired from her job as a graphic artist because of her dress presentation, according to an interview she did with Medium. 

She was attacked by a violent group of men in 2014, and was outed later that year following a holiday trip to South Africa, according to the interview. 

This incident garnered media attention and The Sunday News, a Zimbabwean newspaper, published an article in which it misgendered Horton throughout the entire piece. 

This prompted Horton to apply for a U.S. visa so she could attend an LGBTQ leadership conference in D.C. and remove herself from the cacophony in her town.

The Sunday News later ran a story about Horton’s departure in which they misgendered her again and referred to her as a “transgender man” and “alleged gay.”

Horton arrived in D.C. in December 2016 and began her asylum process there. 

While visiting a friend in Los Angeles, she connected with the city’s Human Rights First chapter that referred her to Dhupar, who represented her pro bono. 

Dhupar is a labor and employment law attorney at Paul Hastings LLC and he volunteered to work on Horton’s case as part of his firm’s partnership with Human Rights First to do pro bono LGBTQ advocacy work.

Horton’s asylum was his first ever immigration case.

While the legal underpinnings of immigration were new to him, Dhupar did not struggle to situate his modus operandi because of how compelling Horton’s case was.

“I always referred to the facts of the case because the law is geared towards helping situations like [Horton’s] where someone fears for their life in their home country,” said Dhupar. 

Dhupar also added that Horton’s case was a prime example of why the asylum process exists.

Horton submitted a psychological evaluation in February 2021 that would expedite her asylum case and grant her an interview notice sooner than usual. 

At that point she had lived in the U.S. for more than four years, but she still had to wait a couple more months before she was called for an interview. This caused Horton to feel trepid about whether her case was strong enough. 

“I went through depression and had psychological breakdowns,” said Horton. “I have friends who were called in for an interview months after moving here and didn’t have to wait five years [like I did].”

This hurdle, however, gave Horton and Dhupar adequate time to build an indisputable case. The two built a personal relationship that kept them vigilant despite the abounding uncertainty. 

“She was a perfect advocate for herself and took the initiative to make sure the case did not fall on the backburner,” said Dhupar. 

Now that she has won her case, Horton is taking time to relish on her recent success. 

“I’m going to take a breather,” she said.

She also plans to secure full-time employment in 2022 and build a makeup brand. Horton currently works part time as a steering committee member — a role she says is fulfilling — at the Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project- Transgender Law Center.

There, she links Black trans and gender nonconforming individuals to education, employment, legal and healthcare resources.

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