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McDonnell's former brother-in-law speaks at gay rights rally

Anita Kumar

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's former brother-in-law, who is transgendered, was one of several speakers at a rally outside the Capitol today pushing for a state law to provide protections for workers based on sexual orientation.

Robyn Deane said she decided to go public today to offer her former brother-in-law help in coming around on his views on gay rights issues. "I believe Bob is in a unique position,'' she said in an interview. "I want to help him."

Deane, 55, of Richmond, was married to First Lady Maureen McDonnell's younger sister, Ellen, for 17 years. The couple divorced 1999 and has three children, ages 26, 22 and 19.

About 50 protesters, many wearing red, gathered under umbrellas and rain coats at a rainy rally in Capitol Square held by the gay rights group Equality Virginia.

They urged legislators to "Don't Hate/Legislate," asking that lawmakers change write legal protections for gay residents into state code. Some held signs that read "Equality is Good."

"This is a personal matter,'' McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said. "The Governor wishes Robyn the very best."

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By Anita Kumar  |  April 21, 2010; 2:03 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Gay Lesbian and Bisexual  
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