- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 8, 2004

RICHMOND — Virginia Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore yesterday agreed that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, but only Mr. Kilgore said the state constitution should be amended to enforce that distinction.

The two state leaders — who are very likely to seek to become Virginia’s governor next year — squared off in a sometimes bitter debate at the state Capitol yesterday.

Mr. Kilgore, a Republican, said he believes the General Assembly should pass a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would uphold traditional marriage and prevent recognition of civil unions.

Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, affirmed his belief in traditional marriage, but said since state law already prohibits same-sex couples from exchanging vows, amending the constitution would be redundant.

“I do believe strongly that it takes male and female to create life and that preserving a special status for a heterosexual, monogamous committed couple to raise their children and have that be a special relationship is a very important thing to keep,” Mr. Kaine said. “Since the law is already rock-solid clear that marriage is between a man and a woman, I’m not sure that [an amendment] is needed. I support the law.”

Mr. Kilgore said he believes people decide to pursue homosexual lifestyles.

“I agree that different people have different ideas on this issue, but I’ve always thought it was a choice,” he said.

Mr. Kaine said that, based on the homosexual people he knows, “they are sort of born that way.” He said he opposes homosexual “marriage” and civil unions.

Delegate John A. Cosgrove, Chesapeake Republican, has proposed amending the constitution during the upcoming legislative session to ban homosexual “marriage.”

Several states passed similar amendments on Nov. 2, and political experts said the Cosgrove bill has a good chance of passing the Republican-controlled legislature.

Mr. Kilgore and Mr. Kaine met yesterday at “AP Day at the Capitol,” an annual forum hosted by the Virginia AP Managing Editors and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Neither man has officially announced his candidacy for the November race, but sparks flew.

“I have some questions for Jerry that I wanted to ask him, but he threatened not to attend,” Mr. Kaine said yesterday, ignoring the format. “Why are you afraid to answer my questions today?”

Mr. Kilgore, who rolled his eyes several times, responded: “I’m not afraid of the lieutenant governor.”

The two also traded barbs over a 2002 eavesdropping scandal that involved top Republicans.

According to his deposition, three days after the first call, Mr. Kilgore’s office alerted the state police to the eavesdropping. No one told the Democrats their second call was about to be intercepted.

Mr. Kaine said the attorney general was not showing leadership. But Mr. Kilgore asserted that were it not for his office, the crime would never have been reported to police.

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