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More on Moran's Gay Marriage Voting Record

Rosalind Helderman

Increasingly, former Del. Brian Moran has been trying to portray himself as the Democratic gubernatorial candidate most friendly on gay rights. It's a strategy we explored in depth a few days ago. But at Wednesday night's debate, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds highlighted a bit of Moran's record that doesn't seem to quite fit the strategy.

In 2004, Moran cast a vote in favor of a resolution sponsored by now Republican nominee Bob McDonnell that encouraged the U.S. Congress to adopt an amendment to the federal constitution banning both gay marriages and civil unions. The voting history on the resolution, a companion to a senate resolution sponsored by now attorney general candidate Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, is complex.

Moran had three opportunities to vote on the issue during the 2004 legislative session. Once, the General Assembly's records showed that he did not vote. Next, he voted against the resolution. But on the last vote, on March 10, 2004, he voted for the idea.

Not surprisingly, Deeds is accusing Moran of hypocrisy now, particularly given Moran's recent comments that Deeds must be "held accountable" for voting to sending the 2006 Virginia constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to referendum. Deeds voted against the resolutions urging a federal amendment.

"Brian you voted for it, and you voted against. You changed your mind in 60 days. You voted both yes and no," Deeds said at the debate. "That's a game of gotcha we can both play, my friend."

Moran did not address the 2004 vote head on at the debate. His spokesman Jesse Ferguson said today that his vote in favor of the measure doesn't "accurately reflect Brian's position" and raised the possibility that his vote might have been incorrectly recorded or that he might have accidentally hit the button for "yes" when he intended to vote "no."

It does happen in the General Assembly that delegates hit the wrong button when voting. And it's true that Moran was voting against measures dealing with amending the Virginia constitution in the same time frame. But usually lawmakers who hit the wrong button notice the error and ask that the vote be retaken before the matter is saved for posterity.

"We do not believe the vote recorded on March 10, 2004 accurately reflects Brian's position based on his previous votes on the matter, his beliefs, and his consistent pattern of standing up for equality," Ferguson said in a statement. "Whether it was the machines mistake or his mistake, he regrets that the vote was recorded as it was. But it's clear from his record and from his February 27th vote against the measure that the record on this vote doesn't accurately reflect his position. It's clear to anyone who looks at the totality of his record on this issue that he's been a strong advocate for equality and will continue as a strong voice on these issues as Governor."

The campaign is sticking with the notion that Moran is the strongest candidate on issues of gay rights. Terry McAuliffe has said he too opposed the amendment but has said its repeal would be so cumbersome as to be an ill use of his time as governor. Deeds has said he voted against the amendment at the ballot but acknowledges he voted more than once to send it to referendum.

UPDATE: In a Washington Times story that ran on Jan. 24, 2004, Moran explained why he did not vote on the resolution. ""Those of us that are uncomfortable with the state recognizing a gay marriage would have difficulty not supporting the resolution. But the fact is it's premature. It was a loaded resolution, and we really need to spend more time on the issues that are before us," he told the Times.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 1, 2009; 2:24 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Rosalind Helderman  
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Oh, please. You vote for and against and not at all because you ----- fill in the excuse here ----. In the debate this week Brian Moran waxed eloquently about how he would do all these wonderful magical changes as governor. More promises from politicians looking for a vote. Let's see how Brian will back up the bravado with a detailed plan of action which has a chance of being implemented. Can Brian get a constitutional amendment passed, without a Democratic House of Delegates. Nope!

Posted by: Willis3 | May 1, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Another example of a politician who doesn't lead but rather follows. Pushed the wrong button? How lame. Stand up and be honest. Admit as Barry Goldwater did that you were narrow-minded on the issue and you've come to see in recent years, as many of us have, that the issue has been used as a political tool to divide rather than a civil privilege to bring people together. I am convinced that in the years to come (and I don't mean many) we will look back with utter incredulity at what has been said and done by politicos and religious leaders in response to this civil right issue. Mr. Moran included.

Posted by: Kabulous | May 2, 2009 7:06 AM | Report abuse

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