It was a good night for sodomy in America

Ken Cuccinelli goes down in Virginia, in what was a banner night for sodomy.

From Virginia to Illinois to Seattle, gay rights, and really “sex” more generally, was on the ballot, and it won in a big way.

In Virginia, family-values Tea Party aficionado Ken Cuccinelli was running for governor, and lost to Democrat Terry McAuliffe. And while Republicans are trying to claim that the election, in which their guy lost, was somehow a mandate against Obamacare – again, it’s not entirely clear what mandate you’ve won when you lose – more independent observers are blaming Cuccinelli’s loss on social issues of a sexual nature, be it abortion, gay rights or sodomy.

Cuccinelli was the religious right Tea Party favorite who based his campaign on, among other things, his desire to ban all oral sex in Virginia, even between married heterosexuals.

Of course, that wasn’t the Virginia GOP’s only attempted intrusion into the voters’ bedrooms.  Virginia Republicans also thought it would be a neat idea to force women, without their consent, to have an ultrasound wand inserted into their vaginas before being permitted to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion:

This bill will require many women in Virginia to undergo vaginal penetration with an ultrasound probe against their consent in order to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion, even for nonsurgical, noninvasive, pharmaceutical abortions.

As you can imagine, the idea of forced-rape-by-instrument didn’t sit well with women.

And while Cuccinelli lost the women’s vote to Democrat Terry McAuliffe by a healthy 9 point margin, Republicans today clung to their insistence that their big loss in Virginia last night was somehow a victory for opponents of the President’s health care reform legislation.

Thrush had a good response to the bizarre “we won by losing” argument:

Greg Sargent over at the Washington Post has more analysis of the exit polls, and finds that Obamacare’s influence last night was basically a wash:

Ken Cuccinelli by Gage Skidmore.

Ken Cuccinelli by Gage Skidmore.

According to the exit polls, only 27 percent of Virginia voters saw the health law as the top issue, and among them, only a bare plurality (49-45) supported Cuccinelli. Far more (45 percent) named the economy.

It’s true 53 percent in the exit polling oppose Obamacare, versus 46 percent who support it. But as we’ve seen, the more fine grained national polling has steadily revealed a small but non-trivial percentage in the opposing camp who disapproves because it doesn’t go far enough, meaning the GOP position is a minority one. (Some pundits simply refuse to entertain these nuances of public opinion, but they exist.) National polls also show that disapproval, while real, doesn’t translate into support for getting rid of the law entirely, and that majorities want to give it a chance.

What had more influence, was women voters.  And they weren’t terribly friendly to the GOP.  MSNBC says women’s reproductive rights were front and center during last night’s vote:

The gift to the McAuliffe campaign was that the McDonnell administration, with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli as a faithful warrior, went on to put restricting reproductive rights front and center on the legislative agenda.

Virginia’s abortion restrictions seized the national debate in early 2012, with forced transvaginal ultrasounds becoming both a rallying cry for newly minted activists and a punchline for comedians like Amy Poehler on Saturday Night Live. McDonnell was forced to back off, at least partially, making sure only external ultrasounds would be required.

Cuccinelli himself was even more prominent in the ongoing struggle to keep Virginia’s abortion clinics open in the face of a law requiring that they convert to ambulatory surgical centers, a medically unnecessary and expensive process. When the Board of Health said existing clinics could be grandfathered in, Cuccinelli forced through changes to ensure that they wouldn’t be. (One affected clinic is suing to overturn the rules.)

Cuccinelli also said that the requirement under the Affordable Care Act that insurance plans cover contraception was so outrageous that he encouraged opponents to “go to jail” rather than comply with it. In 2007, as a state senator, heco-sponsored a personhood bill that declared that life began at fertilization, which, if enforced, would have banned common forms of birth control.

At no point did Cuccinelli stray from his roots, in contrast to McDonnell’s centrist messaging in 2009 and Romney’s attempt to project moderation in 2012. In the closing days of the race, he pursued a strategy to fire up his base, campaigning with fellow Fetal Personhood supporters Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul, among others. But the state’s Tea Party base wasn’t big enough to elect Cuccinelli. “I’m not even sure there are enough voters in Utah for Cuccinelli’s message to resonate,” said Garin.

Sex also fared pretty well nationwide last night. In Houston and Seattle, we saw gay mayors win the mayoral races. And the Victory Fund (a group that supports openly-gay candidates), says 53 gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender candidates won their races last night.

You know where else gays won last night? Illinois and Hawaii.

In Illinois, the state House and Senate passed legislation legalizing gay marriage. The legislation now goes to the state’s Democratic governor, who has promised to sign it.

And in Hawaii, a vote in the full Hawaii House on legislation legalizing gay marriage should take place around 3pm Eastern Time, following by a pro forma vote in the state Senate (the state Senate already passed the bill once, but need to vote again because of some technical changes to the bill). Then the legislation goes to the state’s Democratic governor for his promised signature, and gay marriages begin in Hawaii on December 2, 2013. Hawaii would then become the 15th US state to legalize gay nuptials, with Illinois becoming the 16th in June of 2014.

(14 states and DC currently permit gay couples to wed. The states that currently permit gay marriages are: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington state.)

And really, even beyond sex, progressivism won – or at the very least, conservatism lost – last night nationwide. A final thought, and warning, from Glenn Thrush at Politico:

It only seemed appropriate to end a post about victorious sodomy with this wonderful Frasier segment:


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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