Protesters greet Cuccinelli at GMU speech
About 50 students and alumni associated with campus gay rights groups are protesting an appearance by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli at George Mason University's Law School in Arlington this evening.
The group organized the protest in response to a letter Cuccinelli sent to every public college and university in the state, asserting that schools should not have adopted nondiscrimination policies that protect gays without authority from the General Assembly.
Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) sought to tamp down controversy over the letter with a non-binding executive directive prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the state workforce.
But the students said they would continue to express displeasure with Cuccinelli over the letter. They held signs that read, "Cuccinelli: Bad for Virginia" and "Virginia Is For All Lovers."
Del. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), who is gay, spoke briefly to the group, calling Cuccinelli "out of touch with the realities of the 21st century."
UPDATED 6:55 p.m.: Students who sat through Cuccinelli's hour-long lecture, which was open only to George Mason students and faculty with a university ID card, said the conservative attorney general first addressed the debate over his advice letter to Virginia's colleges and universities, saying that it was his belief that the public institutions were limited in how far they could go to grant protections to groups of people beyond what is allowed by the General Assembly.
He also stressed, students said, that his letter was not legally binding and that his office was beholden to what state legislators decided. Cuccinelli also answered several questions on the subject "at length," and said he did not promote workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, students said.
"He prides himself on upholding the Constitution. That's the platform he was elected on," said Adina Horvath, 34, of Fairfax, a law student at George Mason.
A little after 6 p.m., when the class ended, Cuccinelli was heckled by a young female protester who yelled, "Go home," as he entered administrative offices on the second floor of John T. Hazel Jr. Hall. Most of those at the afternoon gay rights rally quickly dispersed after the outburst; Cuccinelli, who is a 1995 alumnus of the law school, appeared unfazed.
March 23, 2010; 7:07 PM ET
Categories: Derek Kravitz , Ken Cuccinelli
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