- September 26, 2013
Last night in McLean, Virginia, two of the candidates for governor of Virginia faced off in front of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce at a debate moderated by NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd. Businessman and Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe faces Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli on the November 5th ballot.
Throughout the debate the issue of LGBT rights and equality was discussed. In the second question, Ken Cuccinelli was asked about using the office of governor to push a social agenda on abortion, LGBT rights, even on climate change. Cuccinelli diminished the time he’s spent on social issues, and noted that he has “some basic beliefs that are fundamental to me.”
In his response, Terry McAuliffe reminded viewers that Cuccinelli has referred to LGBT Virginians as “self-destructive and soulless human beings.” McAuliffe also noted that as Attorney General, Cuccinelli sent a letter to every college and university saying they could provide no protections against discrimination based upon sexual orientation.
Then later in the debate Aaron Gilchrist of NBC4 cited the new NBC 4/Marist poll that shows that 54% of Virginia voters support marriage equality and asked Terry McAuliffe about his support. McAuliffe reiterated his support for marriage equality and reflected on the now-repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy and how it influences his views, “The idea that we could send our men and women across the globe to fight for us. And then they come back and they don’t have the same equal opportunities and equal rights, I just think was plain wrong.”
After Cuccinelli stated his opposition to marriage equality, McAuliffe reiterated that he will support legislation that allows equal rights for LGBT individuals and that his opponent has continually attacked LGBT Virginians.
And while it didn’t come up during the debate, Terry McAuliffe has publicly committed to reinstating an executive order that will protect state workers from discrimination.
"My first executive order, will be the same as Governor Warner and Governor Kaine before — to outlaw any discrimination in Virginia based upon any issue... I want to make sure we are open and welcoming to everybody. You cannot do that if you put up walls around Virginia and you."