October 31, 2013 at 1:39 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
E.W. Jackson: I respect ‘every individual’

E.W. Jackson, Republican Party, Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade

E.W. Jackson (Photo public domain)

Republican Virginia lieutenant gubernatorial candidate E.W. Jackson on Thursday sought to downplay criticisms over anti-gay statements he has previously made.

“My role is lieutenant governor is to serve all the people of Virginia,” Jackson said during an interview on “News Talk with Bruce DePuyt” on News Channel 8. “I’m a person who respects every individual.”

LGBT rights advocates and Democrats have repeatedly criticized Jackson, who is a minister from Chesapeake, for comparing gay men to pedophiles and describing them as “very sick people.” The Richmond Times-Dispatch in September reported that Jackson said during a speech at a Shenandoah County church that he disagrees with Pope Francis’ suggestion the Roman Catholic Church has grown “obsessed” with same-sex marriage, abortion and contraception.

Campaign finance reports indicate the Family Research Council, anti-gay televangelist Pat Robertson and the Family Foundation in Richmond, Va., have contributed to Jackson’s campaign.

Jackson on Tuesday told WUSA anchor Derek McGinty he did not make the anti-gay comments he said his Democratic opponent, state Sen. Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk), continues to attribute to him.

DePuyt played a clip during his interview with the Chesapeake minister that shows him saying “homosexuality is a horrible sin” that “poisons culture.” Jackson added gay people’s minds “are perverted” and they’re “frankly very sick people.”

The Republican lieutenant gubernatorial candidate also said “no two males or females were ever meant to be together.”

“I refuse to apologize for being a Bible-believing Christian,” Jackson told DePuyt. “There’s millions of us all over the commonwealth of Virginia. No matter how much I’m persecuted for it, I will not apologize for that. Believing that marriage is a union between one man and one woman, having certain moral beliefs is not incompatible with treating all people with respect.”

DePuyt pressed Jackson further on his previous statements that include describing gay men as having “perverted” minds.

“That was not in a political campaign,” Jackson said, once again referring to what he described as Biblical teachings and his feeling that some people feel his religious beliefs disqualify him from seeking public office. “I understand the difference between my role as a minister and my role as a lieutenant governor. I’ve got to serve gay people, straight people, people who believe in God, people who don’t believe in God.”

A poll that Roanoke College released on Wednesday shows Northam ahead of Jackson by a 48-32 percent margin. A Washington Post/Abt SRBI survey unveiled on Oct. 28 shows Northam ahead of Jackson by a 52-39 percent margin.

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

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