I nearly choked to death on my morning coffee when I saw a headline on the Washington Post website that read as follows: A Different Side of McDonnell Va. candidate says views changed since '89 thesis critiquing working women, gays, contraception."
I have known Bob McDonnell since 1994 but have seen little of him since I resigned from the City Committee for the Republican Party of the City of Virginia Beach and later came out of the closet. (Pull a copy of the articles of incorporation for the organization and you will see that I was the original registered agent.) Through various friends I heard how my name was thereafter dragged through the mud for being a "homosexual." Moreover, Bob McDonnell - unlike former Congresswoman Thelma Drake - has never apologized to me for the vile treatment I received after warning him and every other GOP elected official from Virginia Beach about former Congressman Ed Schrock's affinity for gay trysts via Mega Phone ads.
Have I seen any change in McDonnell's views on these issues since I left the GOP? No, none whatsoever. Instead, all I have seen is a campaign focused on hiding McDonnell's extremist views and lock step approach to social issues with Pat Robertson and The Family Foundation.
As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words and over the last six years McDonnell's actions on gay issues show that his views have not changed a bit. Let's review the history:
2003: McDonnell is one of the leaders in the "lynching" of Judge Verbena Askew, the first black Circuit Court judge in Virginia history, who due in large part to McDonnell's efforts is not reappointed to the bench based on rumors that she might - gasp - be a lesbian.
2004: McDonnell supports the legislative precursor to the "Marshall-Newman Amendment" that modifies the Virginia Code to bar same sex marriage, civil unions or other approximations of marriage.
2006: McDonnell issues an opinion that Governor Tim Kaine lacks the power to protest state employees from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.
2006: McDonnell supports passage of the "Marshall-Newman Amendment" which bars recognition of same sex marriages and civil unions and also bars recognition of heterosexual relationships of couples not formally married.
2007: McDonnell's AG office defends the Virginia Museum of Natural History in an administrative investigation concerning a gay employee that was fired due to a homophobic executive directory of the Museum.
2009: McDonnell's AG office defends the Virginia Museum of Natural History in a Circuit Court appeal of the administrative investigation that found there had indeed been anti-gay discrimination involved in firing gay employee Michael Moore.
Bob, I am sorry, but this does not look like a change of views to me. Rather, it is more of the relentless anti-gay agenda that you have consistently displayed since 1989.
At age 34, two years before his first election and two decades before he would run for governor of Virginia, Robert F. McDonnell submitted a master's thesis to the evangelical school he was attending in Virginia Beach in which he described working women and feminists as "detrimental" to the family. He said government policy should favor married couples over "cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators." He described as "illogical" a 1972 Supreme Court decision legalizing the use of contraception by unmarried couples.
The 93-page document, which is publicly available at the Regent University library, culminates with a 15-point action plan that McDonnell said the Republican Party should follow to protect American families -- a vision that he started to put into action soon after he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.
During his 14 years in the General Assembly, McDonnell pursued at least 10 of the policy goals he laid out in that research paper, including abortion restrictions, covenant marriage, school vouchers and tax policies to favor his view of the traditional family. In 2001, he voted against a resolution in support of ending wage discrimination between men and women.
McDonnell added: "Like everybody, my views on many issues have changed as I have gotten older." . . . McDonnell also said that government should not discriminate based on sexual orientation or ban contraceptives . . .
McDonnell's opponent, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath), and other Democrats have sought to highlight McDonnell's conservative record, saying he is obscuring a large part of his background to get elected.
The thesis wasn't so much a case against government as a blueprint to change what he saw as a liberal model into one that actively promoted conservative, faith-based principles through tax policy, the public schools, welfare reform and other avenues. "Leaders must correct the conventional folklore about the separation of church and state," he wrote.
He argued for covenant marriage, a legally distinct type of marriage intended to make it more difficult to obtain a divorce. He advocated character education programs in public schools to teach "traditional Judeo-Christian values" and other principles that he thought many youths were not learning in their homes. . . . He went on to say feminism is among the "real enemies of the traditional family."
One controversy that drew wide attention was an effort in the General Assembly in 2003 to end the judicial career of Verbena M. Askew, a Circuit Court judge from Newport News who had been accused of sexual harassment by a woman who worked for her. As chairman of the Courts of Justice Committee, McDonnell led the effort in the House. . . . Askew, who was not reappointed, denied any wrongdoing and was never found by a court to have harassed the employee.
Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), who has shared most of McDonnell's conservative positions over the years, said there is no question that the candidate is playing down his conservatism today. . . . If you duck something, that tells your opponents that you think your position is a liability," said Marshall, who is backing McDonnell. "Why else wouldn't you acknowledge it?
Bob McDonnell can try to hide, but if the mainstream media acts responsibly - and I welcome this Washington Post story - there is no way he can continue the charade that he's a moderate. He is a religious extremist as demonstrated by his own words and his own record.