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Posted at 5:49 PM ET, 04/ 2/2010

Gay Virginians can vote with their feet

By Vince Rinehart

By Jonathan Mohr

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) and Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) have taken pains to justify excluding sexual orientation and gender identity from state workplace nondiscrimination policies and laws. These positions are just one expression of a troubling legal landscape for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Virginians.

Unlike many groups at increased risk of discrimination and attack, LGBT Virginians are not protected in fair housing and hate-crime laws. Virginia goes further than any state in denying legal recognition to same-sex couples. It also prohibits employers from offering group life insurance to same-sex partners of employees. Virginia allows only heterosexual couples to pursue parenthood through surrogacy.

A lawyer I met neatly summarized the situation: LGBT people should avoid living and working in Virginia. This is easier said than done for many, but LGBT people in the Washington area may increasingly “vote with their feet” as legal disparities between jurisdictions increase. I am a case in point: I just gave notice to my Virginia employer and accepted a position in gay-friendlier Maryland.

By Vince Rinehart  | April 2, 2010; 5:49 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Va. Politics, Virginia, same-sex marriage  
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McDonnell's said that there isn't any significant prejudice against LGBT Virginians, and therefore we don't really need discrimination protections. That attitude is identical in nature to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comment that there are no gay people in Iran. Even McDonnell's tone is softer, the attitude is no less virulent. This idiocy calls for action on a national level.

Posted by: weiwentg | April 3, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

When I moved back to the area in 1995, I settled in Maryland and eventually moved into DC in 2000. I was born in Fairfax Hospital and attended Fairfax County schools until I went on to UVa.

I switched my residence for the very reason discussed in this article. Whether it's the blatant bigotry from the state government or the subtle forms you find in the suburbs, I had had enough. Virginia awful place full, and I recommend other LBGT to jump ship like I did.

Posted by: DCCharles | April 3, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Jonathan, I respectfully disagree. I always beg my gay friends to do the opposite: move to Virginia. Move here in large numbers and VOTE like crazy. You don't bring change by running away, but by fighting back. In fact, running away is exactly what they want you to do, leaving them those currently in power with a gay-free state.

Posted by: annie7 | April 4, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

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