WATCH: Ken Cuccinelli Still Abhors the 'Personal Challenge of Homosexuality'

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com July 21 2013 11:27 AM ET

Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican attorney general leading Virginia's right-wing GOP gubernatorial ticket, reiterated his antigay beliefs in a televised debate with Democratic challenger Terry McAuliffe Saturday. But he used an odd turn of phrase to do so.

"My personal beliefs about the personal challenge of homosexuality haven't changed," Cuccinelli told PBS' Judy Woodruff at the Virginia Bar Association's gubernatorial debate Saturday morning. Woodruff had asked for clarification from the would-be governor if he still believes that "same-sex acts are against nature and harmful to society," as he stated when he was a state senator running for attorney general in 2009. 

Cuccinelli, a 44-year-old married Roman Catholic, has a long history of right-wing conservative politics, and has recently demonstrated a laser-like focus on legislating sex acts. Cuccinelli is a vocal anti-abortionist, blocking legislation that would have allowed existing reproductive clinics in Virginia to remain open last year. 

The Virginia attorney general is also fighting tooth-and-nail to keep Virginia's anti-sodomy laws on the books, despite a 2003 Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas that declared all such laws unconstitutional. In March, a federal court declared Virginia's ban on sodomy — which prohibits oral or anal sex between any two consenting adults — unconstitutional, but Cuccinelli appealed the decision to the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, asking for a three-judge hearing on the law. Cuccinelli's campaign recently launched a website to defend the law, claiming the ban on all sodomy protects children from sexual predators — even though as a state senator, Cuccinelli rejected a revision to the law that would have decriminalized consenting sexual behavior between adults. 

Watch the clip from Saturday's debate below.