Ken Cuccinelli, a former CNN commentator and Virginia attorney general, will reportedly be named to a senior position at the Department of Homeland Security, where he will coordinate immigration policies. Cuccinelli has a long history of anti-LGBTQ bigotry, including claiming that the “homosexual agenda ... brings nothing but self-destruction, not only physically but of their soul."
The New York Times reported today that President Donald Trump is expected to name Cuccinelli “as his choice to coordinate the administration’s immigration policies” and that he “is expected to be based in the Department of Homeland Security.”
Cuccinelli worked for CNN as a legal and political commentator but was cut after the Times report. Cuccinelli also heads the political action committee Senate Conservatives Fund and its affiliated group Senate Conservatives Action.
If he works in a senior position in the federal government, Cuccinelli could potentially affect the lives of numerous LGBTQ individuals. The Human Rights Campaign, for example, has documented “the precarious position of transgender immigrants and asylum seekers” and how “the crisis at the border is an LGBTQ issue.”
Here is a history of some of his worst remarks and actions regarding LGBTQ issues.
Cuccinelli criticized the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage in the U.S., saying it would lead to more “applied tyranny using this case.” During an NPR interview in 2015, Cuccinelli said the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges “isn't good for our country” and added: “The clear implication is that when you leave the parking lot of that church, it's no holds barred by the government against you. … You will see that sort of applied tyranny using this case.”
Cuccinelli issued anti-LGBTQ opinions during his final days as attorney general. As The Virginian-Pilot noted, in his final days as Virginia’s attorney general, Cuccinelli “released a pair of nonbinding opinions that can be read as legal arguments against Gov. Terry McAuliffe's campaign pledges to fight for gay rights and undo abortion restrictions”:
In one, Cuccinelli, who lost to McAuliffe in the 2013 governor's race, says a governor can't order state officials to permit legally married gay couples to file joint Virginia tax returns because the state bans same-sex marriage and formal recognition of it.
The other asserts that a governor lacks authority to “issue a policy directive to suspend a regulation that was properly adopted pursuant to a statutory mandate.” It appears to target intended protections for gay state employees and efforts to invalidate strict licensing rules for abortion clinics.
Cuccinelli has campaigned for the criminalization of sodomy. In 2003, the Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws prohibiting gay sex as unconstitutional in Lawrence v. Texas. In 2013, Cuccinelli prioritized restoring Virginia's anti-sodomy law and campaigned on the issue during his gubernatorial run (he failed on both counts).
Cuccinelli fought against policies that banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public colleges and universities. The Washington Post reported in 2010 that Cuccinelli “urged the state's public colleges and universities to rescind policies that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, arguing in a letter sent to each school that their boards of visitors had no legal authority to adopt such statements. In his most aggressive initiative on conservative social issues since taking office in January, Cuccinelli (R) wrote in the letter sent Thursday that only the General Assembly can extend legal protections to gay state employees, students and others -- a move the legislature has repeatedly declined to take as recently as this week.”
Cuccinelli has said that “homosexual acts” are “intrinsically wrong” and “not healthy to society.” Cuccinelli said in 2009: “My view is that homosexual acts, not homosexuality, but homosexual acts are wrong. 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. I happen to think that it represents (to put it politely; I need my thesaurus to be polite) behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society.” In 2013, he was asked by PBS journalist Judy Woodruff during a debate if he still believed same-sex acts are “against nature and harmful to society.” He responded: “My personal beliefs about the personal challenge of homosexuality haven't changed.”
Cuccinelli said the “homosexual agenda … brings nothing but self-destruction, not only physically but of their soul.” The Washington Post reported in 2008 that Cuccinelli said: “When you look at the homosexual agenda, I cannot support something that I believe brings nothing but self-destruction, not only physically but of their soul.”
Cuccinelli said, “You can’t have safe homosexual sex.” In 2005, after a pro-choice student group at George Mason University organized a sexuality and health fair event that included information about sexual orientation, Cuccinelli said: “You can’t have safe homosexual sex. There is no such thing and yet one of the sponsoring groups is the homosexual group on campus.”
Cuccinelli said, “The militant homosexual agenda generally threatens the stability of our families and our society.” In 2004, as the Virginia-based Connection Newspapers reported, Cuccinelli pushed for an amendment "guaranteeing that marriage is between one man and one woman. … If his bill became law, he said, gays' ‘sex-based relationships wouldn't be forced on the rest of society as if those relationships were normal. It's time that somebody started standing up for families. The militant homosexual agenda generally threatens the stability of our families and our society. I want a resolution to say we want to keep things the way they are in Virginia.’”