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NOM Sustains Yet Another Election Loss In Virginia

November 06, 2013 11:06 am ET by Luke Brinker

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) experienced a major defeat at the polls on November 5, as voters in Virginia's gubernatorial election defeated the NOM-backed ticket of Ken Cuccinelli and E. W. Jackson.

NOM endorsed Cuccinelli and Jackson on October 29, lauding Cuccinelli as "a trusted leader who will stand for the truth of God's design for marriage" and praising Jackson as a "principled leader." NOM President Brian Brown wrote that a Cuccinelli victory was crucial to his organization's cause, with implications far beyond Virginia (emphasis original): 

This importance of this race for governor in Virginia stretches beyond the borders of the Commonwealth itself. It will help set the political tone as we head into the crucial mid-term elections of 2014.

If Ken Cuccinelli is able to pull out a victory with our help, it will be impossible for the media to make the claim that only moderate or liberal Republicans like Chris Christie can win election. But if Cuccinelli is not successful and Christie is, the media spin will be unrelenting. We'll have months of hearing from media such as the New York Times and people like Karl Rove — who lost virtually every election he was involved with in 2012 — about how the GOP must "moderate" its views on social issues like marriage and life if Republicans are to win. 

NOM's support for the pair came as little surprise. As Virginia attorney general, Cuccinelli drew the ire of students and LGBT rights activists when he recommended that the commonwealth's public universities strip their non-discrimination policies on sexual orientation. In 2008, then-State Sen. Cuccinelli told the Virginia Family Foundation, "When you look at the homosexual agenda, I cannot support something that I believe brings nothing but self-destruction, not only physically but of their soul." Faced with criticism from Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe, Cuccinelli refused to disavow such rhetoric, stating in a July debate, "My personal beliefs about the personal challenge of homosexuality haven't changed."

Most notoriously, Cuccinelli attempted to revive Virginia's anti-sodomy law, ostensibly to protect children from sex offenders. But as ThinkProgress noted, Cuccinelli told The Virginian-Pilot that he supported anti-gay laws because "homosexual acts are wrong" and "don't comport with natural law." 

Jackson gained notice for his own inflammatory anti-LGBT rhetoric. Right Wing Watch pointed out that the ultraconservative pastor has called gays and lesbians "perverted," "degenerate," and "spiritually darkened," and has baselessly asserted that there's a "direct connection" between homosexuality and pedophilia.

Despite NOM's confident prediction of victory, Virginia voters rejected Cuccinelli and Jackson after a campaign in which LGBT rights were a central focus. McAuliffe defeated Cuccinelli roughly 48 to 45 percent, while in the lieutenant governor's race, State Sen. Ralph Northam bested Jackson by a 10-point margin, 55 to 45 percent. Both McAuliffe and Northam ran as strong supporters of marriage equality in a state where a majority of voters back the freedom of gay and lesbian couples to marry.

After sustaining a series of humiliating ballot box defeats, NOM's assertion that it's a "vote loser" to support LGBT equality is looking less and less tenable.

Previously:

Another NOM-Endorsed Candidate Loses: Steve Lonegan Edition

NOM Has No Evidence To Prove Marriage Equality Is A "Vote Loser"

NOM Ignores Its Own Track Record In Pledge To Oust Pro-Equality Illinois Republicans




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