Liberalblogs have been ridiculing Virginia attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli for prosecuting a 47-year-old man named William Scott MacDonald under Virginia’s anti-sodomy law. While the prosecution is an obvious sign to some in the press that Cuccinelli is backward and bigoted, Cuccinelli’s Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe has not yet taken a clear position on the issue.
McAuliffe spokesman Josh Scherwin said on Wednesday that the prosecution “is just another example of Ken Cuccinelli ignoring the economy and instead focusing on his divisive ideological agenda.” But Scherwin has refused to respond to multiple requests from THE WEEKLY STANDARD to state whether or not McAuliffe actually thinks MacDonald should be prosecuted under the anti-sodomy statute.
McAuliffe’s reluctance to take a position on the issue is perhaps a sign that the specifics of the case--a 47-year-old man soliciting a 17-year-old girl--make the politics of the issue more ambiguous. The Washington Post’s Rachel Weiner reports:
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled on March 12 that Virginia’s “Crimes Against Nature” statute, which banned oral and anal sex, violates the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. One judge dissented, agreeing with a lower court that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Lawrence v. Texas on sodomy laws applied only to consenting adults.
So the case has nothing to do with sex between consenting adults of the same sex or opposite sex, but whether prosecutors will retain a useful tool to prosecute child predators.