McDonnell's '03 Remarks About Gay Judges Rekindle Concerns

Just a week after his 1989 thesis called into question his views on homosexuals and women in the workplace, Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell is facing more heat from comments he made in 2003 about the fitness of gays to be judges, because, he claimed, their lifestyle violates the state's crimes against nature law.

Reacting to renewed attention to the comments, McDonnell last week stood firm that they are immaterial to the governor's race. 

"It is 100 percent irrelevant in this race," he said. "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."

There are probably more than a few people who would disagree with the sentiment that a governor's views about a sizeable segment of the population amount to irrelevancy. The remarks also complicate McDonnell's deflection of criticism to remarks about his thesis, brushing them off as appearing on a "20-year-old document" that doesn't affect the present.

The comments were heavily reported at the time. In them, he said that being gay does not necessarily disqualify one from being a judge, but that their actions might, without elaborating on what those actions might be and how they would be detrimental to serving on the bench.

One change, though -- in 2003, he described the quotes as "inartful" but now he says he denies altogether the accuracy of how they were reported. So even if his views on these subjects have evolved, so too have his recollections of events.

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