I had heard rumors during last year's campaign that Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell had a transgender relative, but was never able to confirm it and, therefore, never wrote about it.
Well, yesterday at an Equality Virginia organized protest, McDonnell's former brother-in-law, who is transgender, was one of several speakers at a rally outside the Capitol pushing for a state law to provide protections for workers based on sexual orientation. According to a source at EV, McDonnell and his staff were caught blind sided by Robyn Deane's decision to go public.
Obviously, McDonnell's close observation and experience of what LGBT citizens go through - Deane was married to Maureen McDonnell's sister for 17 years - makes his extreme callousness towards gay Virginians all the more reprehensible. Both the Richmond Times Dispatch and the Washington Post are reporting on this development. Here are highlights from the Post story:
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's former brother-in-law, who is transgendered, was one of several speakers at a rally outside the Capitol today pushing for a state law to provide protections for workers based on sexual orientation.
Robyn Deane said she decided to go public today to offer her former brother-in-law help in coming around on his views on gay rights issues. "I believe Bob is in a unique position,'' she said in an interview. "I want to help him." Deane, 55, of Richmond, was married to First Lady Maureen McDonnell's younger sister, Ellen, for 17 years. The couple divorced 1999 and has three children, ages 26, 22 and 19.
They urged legislators to "Don't Hate/Legislate," asking that lawmakers change write legal protections for gay residents into state code. Some held signs that read "Equality is Good."
As the Times Dispatch notes, yesterday was apparently the first time Deane publicly mentioned her tie to the state's first family in a political forum. One has to wonder what McDonnell did to keep Deane out of public view during the campaign last year. Obviously, the wingnuts might not have been too happy about the story.