Locked in a tough reelection bid, state Sen. Amanda Chase has spent much of her 2019 campaign defending incendiary, often right-of-right comments from past and present.
In one of the more bizarre reports this year, Chase cursed out an officer for not letting her park in a secure area at the Capitol. Police records obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch describe her behavior as “rude and irate.” During the April altercation, the officer alleged Chase called the Senate clerk “Miss Piggy,” and lamented that she gets to “park her fat ass up front.”
In July, the Republican lawmaker from Chesterfield earned swift backlash and national media coverage again for a Facebook post saying that women who are naive and unprepared are the ones who get raped.
And in September, Chase, who openly carries a gun on her hip when in the Capitol, had to walk back a campaign ad that that depicted her with a pistol at firing range along with the message, “I’m not afraid to shoot down gun groups.”
Chase’s campaign blamed the ad on a miscommunication and has since edited the ad, but only after Lori Haas, Virginia director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and parent of a student injured in the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting said she felt personally threatened by it.
“When Senator Chase says she’ll ‘shoot down gun groups,’ she’s talking about me,” Haas said in a press release.”
On her weekly radio show, called Cut to the Chase on a conservative station based out of Richmond, Chase has filled a well with outlandish comments about LGBTQ people, the Equal Rights Amendment, transgender people and even Toni Morrison’s “Beloved,” a 1987 Pulitzer prize-winning fiction that follows the story of an African-American who escaped slavery after the Civil War.
With help from the Human Rights Campaign, The Dogwood went through Chase’s weekly segments and picked out some of the more out-there sound bites.
Called homosexuality “sexual dysphoria”
Chase brought Sean Maguire of The Family Foundation onto her show to discuss “what we call sexual dysphoria.” That’s a coded way of saying gay people aren’t actually gay, they’re just confused. It’s language that hasn’t “been used to describe LGBTQ people for decades,” Lucas Acosta of the Human Rights Campaign said in an interview, adding that terms like sexual dysphoria just “goes to show me that you don’t think of me as human.”
Virginia is home to 185,000 LGBTQ adults, according to a William Institute report. Comments like Amanda Chase’s “dehumanize” these people and can lead to violence against the community,” said Acosta, the national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign. “When someone is not seen as equal to or less than another, there’s a switch in the mindset that can then help someone assuage their own guilt about committing an act of violence against our community.”
“And they’re confused”
If you needed confirmation that Chase thinks LGBTQ people are just confused, here it is. “And they’re confused,” Chase said of transgender people. “They don’t know which bathroom to use. They don’t know what gender they are. When God said, in the beginning, he created male and female, that’s two.”
Said electroshock therapy and other torturous conversion therapy methods aren’t used in this day and age
Chase says she opposes electroshock therapy and other torturous conversion therapy…but she also maintains that such techniques are not used in this day, a claim retorted by LGBTQ groups and multiple news reports.
But in 2019, Chase voted against a bill that would have banned electroshock therapy because it “violates free speech, religious liberty, and endangers children who should be able to receive helpful counsel.”
“Not only does she condone the act of conversion therapy,” Acosta said, but she misunderstands what actually happens in these clinics. He said using electrical shock therapy is still prevalent in conversion therapy practices across the country, and is most often performed on unwitting minors.
The real danger to LGBTQ youth, equality advocates argue, is conversion therapy itself, a position supported by three Virginia boards that advise mental health professions. Earlier this year, the Board of Psychology, Board of Counseling, and Board of Social Work all voted to prohibit conversion therapy on minors.
“Some parents believe along with their kids that homosexuality is a sin and, you know, they need options”
In an apparent endorsement of the position that homosexuality is a sin, Chase said conversion therapy should not be prohibited through regulation because parents should have a right to force children to pray the gay away, even though studies show that 42% of youth who undergo conversion therapy attempt suicide. That’s compared to 17% of LGBTQ youth who attempt suicide but do not undergo conversion therapy, according to a 2019 youth mental health survey by The Trevor Project.
Said she is concerned the ERA treats women identically to men
“It’s concerning to me that the ERA treats women identically to men, not equally to men,” Chase said, “lending to it the current fad of gender fluidity.” Currently, the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee equal rights for women. The Equal Rights Amendment aims to establish this equality.
Claimed the separation of Church and State is not guaranteed by the constitution
Because the phrase “separation of chirch and state” is not explicitly used in the First Aamendment, Chase claims that it can’t be violated.
However, the principle of separating religion from government is clearly outlined in the establishment clause to the First Amendment, which was adopted in 1791. By 1833 all states, including Virginia, had removed religion from government. And in the 20th century, the U.S. Supreme Court applied the establishment clause to the states through the 14th Amendment.
Said classic book on American slavery creates a date rape culture
“I mean, ‘Beloved’ and some of these other books – creating a date rape environment,” Chase said.
Not even Toni Morrison can escape Chase’s strange commentary. Inspired by the story of an African-American slave, “Beloved” is a 1987 fiction about Margaret Garner and her 1865 escape from slavery in Kentucky to Ohio, a free state. The novel is a staple in high school English classes and earned Morrison a Pulitzer Prize in 1988.
But Chase said the book creates a date rape culture. In 2016, she took it a step farther and voted for a bill that would make Virginia the first state in the nation to require K-12 teachers to notify parents of classroom materials with sexually explicit content.