It seems that President Obama isn’t the only politician whose stance on gay rights has evolved throughout his political career.
Gov. Bob McDonnell is right there with him.
On Monday—the day before the Virginia House rejected the judicial appointment of an openly gay man—McDonnell said that no one should be denied an appointment because of his or her sexual orientation.
"All I can tell you is what I've always said about judges, and that is that these ought to be merit-based selections solely based on a person's skill, ability, fairness, judicial temperament, " the governor said at an unrelated event. "None of those things should be factors in whether or not you put somebody on the bench. It's only their ability to practice law and mete out fair decisions."
But, as Talking Points Memo point out, this hasn’t always been the governor’s position.
In 2003 when McDonnell was a legislator, according to TPM, he told the Newport Daily Press that gay sexual conduct may be a violation of state law and subsequently a potential disqualification for judicial nominees:
"McDonnell, a Virginia Beach Republican who is chairman of the state legislature’s House Courts of Justice Committee, also said that while such behavior alone would not disqualify someone from being a judge, “It certainly raises some questions about the qualifications to serve as a judge.”
Virginia’s “crimes against nature” law bans all oral and anal sex regardless of the gender of the parties involved. It has been criticized as an antiquated statute that intrudes into private lives and that is likely to be used only against gay people. Repeated attempts to repeal the law have failed."
“There is certain homosexual conduct that is in violation of the law,” McDonnell said at the time. “I’m not telling you I would disqualify a judge per se if he said he was gay. I’m talking about their actions.”
He made these comments while he was heading a legislative panel examining the reappointment of Virginia’s first black female judge, who was accursed of sexual harassment, according to TPM. The judge’s reappointment was ultimately rejected, leading to Democrats charging Republicans with racial bias.
In 2009, the comments resurfaced and became fire for McDonnell critics during his gubernatorial campaign, which largely focused on his past as an evangelical social conservative.
“It is 100 percent irrelevant in this race,” McDonnell told the Washington Post in 2009. “What’s relevant in this race is what the records of the candidates are on issues that the voters care about and, number two, who’s got the best ideas to be able to create jobs and build infrastructure and build a better Virginia. That’s what’s relevant.”
* D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s request to testify at the House Subcommittee on the Constitution's hearing Thursday on a bill that would ban abortions in the District after 20 weeks of pregnancy was denied.
In a news release, Norton said she was not surprised by the denial because the subcommittee had previously turned her down to testify on a bill that would have permanently banned the District from spending its own funds for abortions for low-income women.
“Both bills have in common attempts to codify the far right ideology of Members of Congress and impose them with no accountability to the affected residents,” Norton said. “The post-20-week D.C. abortion ban bill targets an entire group of individuals, women who live in the District of Columbia, and their constitutional rights. Using the women of one congressional district to reach for extreme encroachments on women’s reproductive rights has become a pattern of the House Republican majority, but also reflected nationwide. We will vigorously fight the bullying tactics of the Republican majority against the District’s women, and in standing up for ourselves, we recognize that we are also in the larger fight to protect the reproductive rights of women everywhere.”
* An audit report examining the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA)—the regional authority overseeing Reagan and Dulles airports and the $6 Dulles Metro project—found that the authority is filled with mismanagement, a lack of transparency and unscrupulous spending.
According to The Washington Times, Inspector General Calvin L. Scovel III noted in the 16-page report released Tuesday that the authority has an ethics code for its board of directors, but does not provide enough oversight and support to ensure that it’s followed.
* Kenyan McDuffie decisively beat 11 other contenders for the Ward 5 council seat Tuesday in a special election to replace Harry Thomas Jr., who pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $350,000 from the city.
* Read Tom Sherwood’s article on the $11 billion budget the D.C. Council passed Tuesday.