Welcome to the gay rights battleground of Virginia.
Yes, you read that right. In the 2013 off-year elections, a state that once leaned solidly to the center-right has become the newest focal point in the national debate over same-sex relationships. A gubernatorial race already defined partly along culture-war lines has grown even more contentious since last weekend, when Virginia Republicans nominated as their lieutenant governor candidate a firebrand minister who has called gays “very sick people psychologically” and suggested a connection between homosexuality and pedophilia.
Remarkably, in a New South battleground where Democrats have traditionally won by carving out independent, non-partisan reputations, it’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe who’s most eager to keep gay rights on the political front burner.