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Friday, April 05, 2013

Cuccinelli’s clownishness and the religious right’s stealth campaigns


Adam Serwer, Mother Jones:

The campaign of Virginia state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli won’t say if he’s committed any crimes against nature.

Cuccinelli, who is running to be Virginia’s next governor, recently petitioned a federal court to reverse its ruling that the state’s archaic “Crimes Against Nature” law is unconstitutional. That statute outlaws oral and anal sex between consenting adults—gay or straight, married or single—making such “carnal” acts a felony. The law is unconstitutional because of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, which invalidated such “anti-sodomy laws” across the country.
Basically what’s going on here is that Cuccinelli wants the paw to stand because he can use it to prosecute [read “persecute”] people in the LGBT community. That someone might ask if he’s ever gotten a BJ from his wife never occurred to him, because that was never the way he intended to apply the law. He meant to discriminate and use it to prosecute for the “crime” of homosexual sex acts.

Go ahead and point and laugh at the clownishness, but remember that it stops being so much fun when somebody loses a right. Cuccinelli can’t come right out and say he wants to lock up gay people for gay sex, so he hatches another excuse:
As my colleague Kate Sheppard notes, Cuccinelli’s office claims that it is appealing the decision because the state’s regular statutory rape law doesn’t allow it to pursue the harshest punishment against a 47-year-old man who solicited oral sex from teenagers (who were above the age of consent at the time). But as Josh Israel recounts at ThinkProgress, Cuccinelli helped kill an effort to reform the Crimes Against Nature law in order to make it comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Lawrence, possibly because the proposed law didn’t focus on homosexuality. “My view is that homosexual acts, not homosexuality, but homosexual acts are wrong,” Cuccinelli said in 2009. “They’re intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law-based country it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that…They don’t comport with natural law.”
And this is what the religious right so often does. getting a court to reverse its ruling on Lawrence with the express purpose of persecuting gays would not be a popular move. So he cooks up an innocuous BS reason to do it. He just wants to get tough on a pedophile (who legally is not actually a pedophile in Virginia, but we’ll get to that) and this silly little court ruling stands in his way. It’s not about the fact that Cuccinelli hates gays and lesbians with a burning passion, it’s that some guy was trying to get blowjobs from adult teens. Won’t someone please think of the children?

We’ve seen the same method used to try to write fetal personhood into law. Until recently, they tried to bring it in the backdoor. A woman miscarries after an accident with a drunk driver and suddenly there’s a bill out there that makes harming a fetus in this way manslaughter, but creating legal language that makes a fetus a person. And when people object, they’re accused of siding with drunk drivers against poor little babies.

Cuccinelli’s stab at this method of establishing institutional homophobia is hamhanded — yeah, some guy should not be allowed to hit up random 16 and 17 year-olds for sex. But there’s a real simple remedy for that: get the legislature to join the 21st and make Virginia’s age of consent older than freakin’ fifteen. Forget petitioning the court, get on lawmakers’ asses. It shouldn’t be hard to shame them into doing something like that.

But that would make sense — and it wouldn’t hand Ken Cuccinelli a legal cudgel which with to bash gays. That’s what this is all about.

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