Lt. Gov. candidate E.W. Jackson does not regret ‘gays are sick’ comments

In less than a week, Virginians will head to the polls to elect a new governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general.

CBS 6 has reached out to all the major party candidates and offered them an opportunity to connect with Virginia voters. So far the Libertarian candidate for governor, both lieutenant governor candidates, and both attorney general candidates have accepted the invitation.

Below is the transcript of anchor Bill Fitzgerald and Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate E.W. Jackson. Jackson has been criticized for some of the comments he has made against gays and other groups.

Bill Fitzgerald CBS 6: “YouTube has a number of your speeches where you make a lot of comments on Democrats, gays, Planned Parenthood.  Current Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling called some of your statements indefensible.

Last May, at a campaign stop, you said you wouldn’t apologize for anything you said in the past.  Do you have any regrets?”

E.W. Jackson, Lt. Gov. candidate: “Absolutely not and here is the reason. None of those statements were made as a candidate; they were made as a minister. As a minister I teach the Bible. If people have a problem with that, there is a word for it: bigotry—religious bigotry.

And what they are trying to do is disqualify me because I happen to be a Bible believing Christian, but there are millions of us all over Virginia and the rest of the country.  I have been trying to focus on jobs, on education, on dealing with some of the inner city youth problems we have. I grew up in that kind of context, so those are some of the things I’ve been focusing on, but my opponents and the mainstream media want to talk about me as a minister.”

BF: “But when someone takes the measure of a man, they want to know what his beliefs are. What does he say about, for example, about gays, about Planned Parenthood? For example, should gay Virginians, non-Christians should they be worried about your election? Are you an inclusive?”

JACKSON: “I think Christians ought to be worried, because my opponent said there is no room in Virginia for people who don’t believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman.  I never said that about homosexuals, people engaged in same sex relationships. No, they shouldn’t be worried because I love the Constitution.

BF: “You never said gays were sick?”

JACKSON: “Look, as a minister I quoted Romans Chapter 1, and interpreted Romans Chapter 1 in a ministry context.  I suggest you read it, and I suggest your viewers read it.

BF: “So that’s where the ‘gays are sick’ comment came from, your ministry?”

JACKSON: “It talks about homosexuals, and homosexuality, it condemns the behavior, but here again, that is not what I’ve been running on. I’ve been running on jobs, education, on trying to deal with problems in the inner city, and it really is a sad commentary that our founding fathers specifically warned against religious tests, and I’m being confronted with all this anti-Christian religious bigotry.

And what they are saying is that no minister who believes the Bible, no Christian who believes in the bible is worthy of serving in public office but those who don’t, or who are opposed to it, are perfectly qualified.

BF: “But there is an intersection between your religious beliefs and public policy. For example Charlottesville and Richmond have passed ordinances extending benefits to spouses of gay city workers if and when Virginia law should change, allowing recognition of same sex couple. So that is where some would say, well, religious beliefs say this, but policy say this. Where do you stand on that, what Charlottesville and Richmond have done?”

“It’s very interesting that I, who am standing behind the constitutional amendment passed by a majority of Virginians [in 2006], am being vilified and those who are violating and decrying the constitutional amendment, they are being praised, they are doing something wonderful. I’m standing with the people of Virginia, I’m standing with our constitutional amendment, I’m standing with our Judeo Christian values.

I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. And that’s just where I stand.”

BF:  “You told the Virginian Pilot in 2006 you supported the will of the people when Virginians effectively voted, as you said, to define marriage as only between a man and a woman.  Now that polls show a similar majority of Virginians now supporting same-sex marriage should leaders follow the will of the people in that case?

JACKSON:“You mean based on a poll. I thought we had to have elections. That’s what next Tuesday is going to be about. I don’t pay any attention to polls, but obviously the law is the law and one is duly obligated to follow it or suffer the consequences of civil disobedience.

But we aren’t there yet, we have a constitutional amendment in place, and I support it.

BF: “Now talking about fiscal policy, for example. The transportation bill is a big bill you said the other day that you would have had some trouble with it because it raised taxes. Would you have provided the tie-breaking vote—as a Lieutenant Governor–in the Senate to pass the transportation bill?

JACKSON: “I said if I was in the Senate, it would have been a different kind of bill because I would have fought for the will of the people and the people don’t want to be taxed. I think we can solve our transportation problems without adding additional tax burdens in a bad economy, on the backs of Virginians.

BF: “So you wouldn’t have allowed Governor McDonnell’s landmark transportation bill to pass?”

JACKSON: “If I had been in the state Senate, or if I have been president of the Senate, I would have made a different type of commitment not to raise taxes.

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