Saturday, March 6th, 2010...10:38 am

Why I Am No Longer a Virginian: Va. AG Tells Colleges to Drop Gay-Rights Protections

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In 2008 I left the Commonwealth of Virginia (my ancestral home, where I had lived and worked for most of my adult life) to move to Connecticut. News from the Old Dominion (reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education) confirms my decision to leave:

Virginia’s attorney general says public colleges and universities in the state with policies that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation should revoke such policies because they lack the legal authority to name gay state employees as a protected class, The Washington Post reported. The attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli II, a Republican who took office in January, wrote in a letter to the colleges that only the state’s General Assembly can give legal protections to gay state employees. The legislature has repeatedly declined to take that step.

Connecticut, in contrast, recognizes same-sex marriage, adoption by same-sex parents, prevents discrimination because of sexual orientation, and provides benefits for same-sex spouses. Since Griswold v Connecticut in 1965 (the Supreme Court decision, ruling on a law restricting access to birth control, that established a right to privacy), the “Land of Steady Habits” has moved steadily into modernity.

The Virginia AG office has historically been the springboard for those with gubernatorial ambitions, like Bob McDonnell, the recently elected governor whose campaign was successful in part because he was a Right Wing transvestite performing in Centrist drag, and whose 1989 Public Polic master’s degree and Law JD thesis from Pat Robertson’s Regent University (entitled “The Republican Party’s Vision for the Family”) includes this gem: “. . . every level of government should statutorily and procedurally prefer married couples over cohabitators, homosexuals, or fornicators. The cost of sin should fall on the sinner not the taxpayer”  (p. 65).

2 Comments

  • Thomas Lawrence Long
    March 9th, 2010 at 10:10 am

    In a follow-up to this post, Inside Higher Ed reports:

    Students at many of Virginia’s public colleges and universities began planning Monday to fight the declartion of Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II last week that that the institutions lack the authority to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation, while Gov. Robert McDonnell signaled that he might take a different tack, The Washington Post reported. Groups opposing the attorney general’s letter cropped up across Facebook, business leaders expressed qualms that the stance would hurt the state’s ability to attract students and workers, and the governor said in an interview that he’d consider signing state legislation extending legal protections on the basis of sexual orientation if the legislature were to pass one.

    The Post article can be found at:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/08/AR2010030804999.html

  • Thomas Lawrence Long
    March 11th, 2010 at 8:46 am

    In another follow-up, Inside Higher Ed reports:

    Days after the state’s attorney general told the institutions that they couldn’t ban discrimination against gay people, the governor said they could. Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s announcement came amid growing student protests about the attorney general’s policy and strong statements by some college officials that suggested they would ignore the attorney general. Both McDonnell and the attorney general, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, are Republicans. . . He issued an “executive directive” in which he said: “The Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution prohibits discrimination without a rational basis against any class of persons. Discrimination based on factors such as one’s sexual orientation or parental status violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. Therefore, discrimination against enumerated classes of persons set forth in the Virginia Human Rights Act or discrimination against any class of persons without a rational basis is prohibited.”

    “Equal Protection Clause”? Can same-sex marriage in Virginia be far behind?

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