Michael Hamar

Bob McDonnell: Sex Life May Be Used Against Judges

Filed By Michael Hamar | September 02, 2009 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Politics, Politics

With Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonald trying to frantically disavow the religious extremism exposed in his CBN University thesis - see the MSNBC clip above - and making claims that his some of his views have change, the Daily Press, which covers the Hampton- Newport News Williamsburg area, has thrown a hand grenade at McDonnell by republishing a January 15, 2003, story that looks at the "lynching" of former Newport News Circuit Court Judge Verbena Askew by McDonnell and his GOP cohorts.

I recommend that you take the time to read the entire story because it demonstrates that McDonnell still adheres to the extreme conservative agenda for the GOP set forth in his thesis. McDonnell can lie all he wants about the thesis, but this story shows the true story of what transpired.

I applaud the Daily Press for reprinting the 2003 story in its entirety with the following Editor's note:

Editor's note: A spokesman for Bob McDonnell, the Republican candidate for governor, told the Washington Post recently that McDonnell had been misquoted in 2003 about his views on whether a person's sexual orientation should be a factor in determining whether a person is qualified to be a circuit court judge in Virginia.

From the Post story:"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. He said he was opposed to Askew's reappointment because she didn't disclose, as required, that she was a party to a legal proceeding."

McDonnell was widely quoted at the time as saying that homosexual activity raised questions about a person's qualifications to be a judge. Spokesman Tucker Martin said McDonnell was misquoted and does not consider homosexuality a disqualifying factor for judgeships or other jobs."Askew, who was not reappointed, denied any wrongdoing and was never found by a court to have harassed the employee."

The following is the original Daily Press story, in which then-Del. McDonnell is quoted as saying, "There is certain homosexual conduct that is in violation of the law. I'm not telling you I would disqualify a judge per se if he said he was gay. I'm talking about their actions."The story appeared on Jan. 15, 2003. McDonnell never told the Daily Press, at that time, that he had been misquoted.

Here are highlights from the original Daily Press story which helped earn McDonnell the nickname "Taliban Bob" locally. McDonnell can disingenuously claim his views have changed, but as I have highlighted a number of times his actions speak loudly otherwise:

A key Virginia lawmaker said Tuesday that engaging in anal or oral sex might disqualify a person from being a judge because both activities violate state law. Del. Robert F. 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.


Asked if he had ever violated the law, McDonnell said, "Not that I can recall. "But the activity is illegal, McDonnell said, and judges must be expected to obey the law."There is certain homosexual conduct that is in violation of the law," McDonnell said. "I'm not telling you I would disqualify a judge per se if he said he was gay. I'm talking about their actions." McDonnell stressed that he does not know whether Askew is a lesbian.


The executive director of the Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Kent Willis, said there's no relationship between a person's sexual orientation and whether they would make a good judge."Whether someone is gay or lesbian should have absolutely no bearing on his ability to be a judge," Willis said.Willis said the same standard should be applied to married male judges."Probably 90 percent of the judges are breaking the law," Willis said.McDonnell said it would be just as bad if a heterosexual male judge violated the anti-sodomy law. But he said he's never seen evidence of that and he doesn't plan to start asking.


Michael Adams, attorney for Lambda Legal, a national organization working for gay rights, said this incident "is one more example of how these unconstitutional laws are used to mistreat people."Adams said using this law acts as a pretext for discrimination."There is no correlation between a person's sexual orientation and their ability to be a judge," Adams said. "The process of choosing judges should be beyond political reproach and beyond discrimination."

Ironically, in June of 2003 in Lawrence v. Texas the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Virginia's sodomy statute along with those of 12 other states.

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