February 22, 2013 at 6:04 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
McAuliffe endorses same-sex marriage

Terry McAuliffe, Christopher Schaffer, Levar Stoney, Equality Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade

Terry McAuliffe (center) at an Equality Virginia fundraiser in Arlington, Va. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe on Friday publicly backed marriage rights for same-sex couples for the first time.

“I believe everyone should be treated fairly,” the former Democratic National Committee chair said in response to a question on the subject during a Google chat. “I personally favor civil marriage for committed couples of the same-sex.”

McAuliffe’s comments come a week after Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, against whom he will likely face in the commonwealth’s gubernatorial election later this year, reaffirmed his opposition to nuptials for gays and lesbians during an appearance on News Talk with Bruce DePuyt.

Gay advocates on Feb. 14 gathered in Arlington, Charlottesville, Hampton, Richmond and Winchester to rally against the state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage 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 Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) that would have repealed the Marshall-Newman Amendment.

“I understand that this is an issue that Virginians of goodwill come down on both sides of and it is an issue where, like many Virginians, my views have changed from earlier in my life,” McAuliffe said. “Regardless of where you stand on this issue, one thing Dorothy (his wife) and I consistently hear is that people are tired of issues like this being used to divide people especially when we face such important economic challenges here in Virginia.”

Equality Virginia applauded McAuliffe’s comments in a brief statement.

“Any time any public figure comes out in support of LGBT rights, it is a huge step in moving the community forward,” the LGBT advocacy group said.

Surovell also welcomed them.

“McAuliffe will be the first Virginia gubernatorial candidate to support same-sex marriage,” he noted to the Washington Blade. “I’m pleased to see that voters will have a clear choice to make.”

Gay state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) agreed.

“That’s the kind of direct and honest answer Virginians can expect from Terry McAuliffe,” he told the Blade.

A Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday shows McAuliffe and Cuccinelli tied with 38 percent of Virginia voters supporting them. The former DNC chair would have a three point lead over the attorney general if Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling were in the race.

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

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • Is this the same Terry McAuliffe whose personal fortune soared to 180M while he was Chair of the DNC? Oh, never mind, it is. Is this the same Terry McAuliffe who made 18M on an 80K investment (most likely not his own) in Global Crossing? Him too, ‘eh. Sure I’ll support a blatant crook to run a state budget just so long as he supports the state sanctioning religious rituals, you bet! You go Terry!

    Looks like VA will have another republican governor, McAuliffe is just too slimey.

  • Is Mack’s comment above just another slimy smear put forward by Republicans? Sort of like the charge that Hagel received $200,000 from a nonexistent group called “Friends of Hamas” or like the charge that Harvard’s School of Law has twelve (yes, precisely twelve) faculty members who support armed communist take-over of the United States. Mack’s last name must be McCarthy.

  • Looks like VA will have another republican governor, McAuliffe is just too slimey.
    GOP dirty tricks just don’t have the wit attached to them like they did back in my day.

  • We hope it will fly and someday we can all be truly equal! We are marrying on our 20th anniversary, April 7th 2013 in Georgetown DC. It would just be nice if the state we have worked, paid taxes and lived since 1986, would accept us and treat us as equals.

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