If nothing else, Ken Cuccinelli is consistent - he is consistently a bigoted asshole who holds gays and women who seek to control their own bodies in open contempt. Thus his parting opinions as Attorney General that seek to undermine non-discrimination protections for gays and any efforts to keep reproductive health services available to women. Not surprisingly, his cohorts in bigotry is the ever nasty Del. Bob Marshall and the anti-gay religious extremists at The Family Foundation, a hate group in all but formal designation. Thankfully, Cuccinelli's opinions are non-binding and will hopefully soon find themselves in the trash bin where they belong. The Virginian Pilot looks at Cuccinelli's last spoil brat like actions. Here are highlights:
During his final days as attorney general, Ken 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.
Both opinions - one was dated Jan. 10, Cuccinelli's last day in office - were provided to Del. Bob Marshall, a Prince William County Republican and social conservative opposed to gay rights and abortion.
State Sen. Adam Ebbin, an Alexandria Democrat who has filed bills to repeal the gay marriage ban and add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" as groups protected from discrimination, said he wasn't surprised by Cuccinelli's opinions. The openly gay lawmaker said the former attorney general left office the way he entered it: "With a tone of division and a view towards the past instead of the future."
Cuccinelli's tax-filing opinion affirms a November ruling by the state tax department that's at odds with Internal Revenue Service standards: The federal agency allows married gay couples to file joint returns since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act in June.
Another result of that decision is that federal employees are eligible to share benefits with their same-sex spouses. That standard appears to apply to the Virginia National Guard.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, which is challenging the state's gay marriage ban, has taken issue with the state tax policy developed in consultation with Cuccinelli's office.
Support for that ruling has come from the conservative Family Foundation, which argues that fidelity to the state constitution takes "precedent over the tradition of conforming the tax code to federal rules."