Give Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s Republican attorney general and gubernatorial candidate, points for boldness. In an age when state attorney generals are refusing to defend socially conservative laws in the courts, Cuccinelli has taken the novel step of not only defending one such law, but turning it into a campaign attack.
Today, Cuccinelli’s campaign launched a website which allows users to search for sexual predators in or near Virginia ZIP codes and warns that, if the law is not upheld, 90 sex offenders could be taken off the books. The site charges that McAuliffe is “playing politics instead of protecting” Virginian children, an accusation that arises from the anti-sodomy law’s use in convicting child predators (the website maintains that the law cannot be used against consenting adults, contra “misinformation peddled by Terry McAuliffe and his liberal allies.”).
The McAuliffe campaign released a statement to the Huffington Post responding to the site, and said McAuliffe supported “strong laws to protect children,” but “Terry believes our laws should be updated to both conform with court rulings and allow prosecution of predators.”
The controversy stems from a 2005 case in which a 47-year old man was convicted of sodomy for soliciting oral sex from a 17-year-old girl. In March, a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit overturned the law as unconstitutional, citing a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court case, Lawrence v. Texas. In April, Cuccinelli requested the court review the case en banc, with all 15 judges, a request that was denied. He has also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case.