Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
About this Blog   |   On Twitter   |   Follow us on Facebook   |   RSS Feeds RSS Feed

Gay rights group urges McDonnell to counter Cuccinelli's college advice

Anita Kumar

Equality Virginia sent a letter to Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) this weekend asking him to "end his silence" on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) decision to urge the state's public colleges and universities to rescind policies that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The gay rights group wants McDonnell to introduce a bill during the final week of the legislative session that would include sexual orientation as a protected class in the state's non-discrimination policy for state workers.

Earlier this year, McDonnell signed an executive order barring discrimination in the state workforce on the grounds that include race, sex, religion and age, but not sexual orientation. McDonnell criticized former Democratic governor Tim Kaine for including language about sexual orientation in his executive order, arguing he overstepped his authority by extending protections not authorized by the General Assembly.

But McDonnell did not support bills that would have banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation that were introduced -- but killed -- earlier during the session.

"The good news is that it is not too late for you to exert leadership to change the law,'' writes Jon Blair, chief executive officer of Equality Virginia. "Actions always speak louder than words. Virginians expect our leaders to lead. Going forward, your actions in this case, not your words, will determine the credibility of your promise of opportunity."

McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said the governor has received the letter and it will be reviewed by he and his staff. "Just as he did in 2006 in the Office of the Attorney General, the governor has issued a strong non-discrimination policy that will be strictly enforced within the governor's office. Individuals will be hired and promoted based solely on merit and ability, and discrimination will not be tolerated anywhere in this administration, period."

Read the full letter to the governor below:

Dear Governor McDonnell:

I write to ask you to end your silence, and to act on behalf of all Virginians.

Since taking office in January, you have chosen not to support efforts to amend Virginia law to codify a state "policy" against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. You have explained your inaction and your "no position" on pending legislation saying that you have a "policy" against such discrimination in your office, even though that "policy" does not, and according to the opinion you once issued as Attorney General, cannot apply to all state employees or even to the employees of your own Cabinet members.

Now, a letter, signed on March 4, 2010 by the current Attorney General and sent to the state's colleges and universities, casts doubt, under your own legal analysis, about whether you can even enforce a "policy" of nondiscrimination within the Office of the Governor. Applying your joint legal theory, the Attorney General states that both an official policy enacted by a university board of visitors and an informal policy implemented by the president of an institution (your corollary) would be equally invalid in the absence of legislative endorsement.

If yours and the Attorney General's analysis of existing state law is correct (and we strongly question whether it is), this means that you would be acting without legal authority if, as Governor, you sought to enforce your "policy" against discrimination to protect any person in your office from adverse action based on his/her sexual orientation or gender identity. Thus, you cannot argue with any validity that you can, as Governor, protect anyone from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity without a change in the law.

The good news is that it is not too late for you to exert leadership to change the law, as many Virginians, our academic and business leaders, and the Richmond Times Dispatch and other editorial writers have urged you to do. Under the Constitution of Virginia and the legislative procedural rules, you may send a bill down for consideration at any time before the legislature adjourns sine die on Saturday, March 13, 2010.

Accordingly, Equality Virginia respectfully requests that you write the House of Delegates or the Senate requesting the immediate introduction of either or both of the following:

1) a bill to amend the nondiscrimination policy in Section 2.2-3900 B.1. of the Virginia Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity (such legislation would moot the Attorney General's advice to the colleges); and

2) a bill identical to SB 66 governing nondiscrimination in the state workforce or HB 1116 governing nondiscrimination in state and local employment (such legislation would implement the nondiscrimination policy for public employees, including those in your office and at state universities and colleges).

Failure to take positive action during this legislative session to encourage enactment of a state policy against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity will be seen by the thousands of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender Virginians (and the many thousands more Virginians who count themselves among their families and allies) as confirming that your promise of a "Commonwealth of Opportunity" is a hollow one for them.

Repeating that you believe discrimination based on sexual orientation is wrong no longer carries any weight. The Attorney General's and your legal opinion makes crystal clear you believe (rightly or wrongly) that neither you nor any other state officer has authority to hold anyone accountable when they practice such discrimination.

Actions always speak louder than words. Virginians expect our leaders to lead. Going forward, your actions in this case, not your words, will determine the credibility of your promise of opportunity.

Very truly yours,

Jon Blair

Chief Executive Officer, Equality Virginia

By Anita Kumar  |  March 7, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Democrats tap Minnesota's Sen. Klobuchar for Jefferson-Jackson dinner
Next: Last-minute lobbying blitz in support of speaker's asbestos liability bill

Comments

Virginia needs only to look back at its history to know what they need to do next. After slavery, segregation and miscegenation statutes do they need to be forced to keep up with civil and human rights?

Posted by: bobbarnes | March 7, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Are homosexuals so oppressed in the Commonwealth that they need to be a "protected class"? I think not.

This is just the homosexuals wanting to be equal only more so, kind of like the animals in Animal Farm.

Posted by: JoStalin | March 7, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

JoStalin?

Was this/would this have been, your attitude to the persons covered when the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and/or the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were being debated, passed and signed into law by President Johnson?

Were you/would you have been, one of the persons who protested when the SCOTUS ruled in 'Loving v. Virginia' in 1967?

I have a hint for you - If you don't like to participate in same sex sex, don't participate in same sex sex. If you don't want to participate in same sex marriage, don't get married to a same sex partner.

Oh, and when are you going to give back all the benefits of mixed-sex marriage (you know there are more than 1000 of them on the federal level alone, don't you?) that couples of a same-sex relationship can't benefit from? Things such as a partner being able to visit you in the hospital to making medical decisions for a partner when that partner is unable to make them for themselves; inheritance; surviving spouse benefits; etc., etc.

If you think gays and lesbians, when wanting the same rights and benefits given to heterosexual couples means that they want 'special rights', you really don't want to discuss the issue, but just want to discriminate against people. And since you can no longer legally discriminate against blacks and people of other ethnicities, you choose to pick another group to discriminate against. And who will be next after you can't eventually discriminate against gays/lesbians/bisexuals/transgendered? The 'towel-head, sand n****s'?

Posted by: critter69 | March 7, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Oh goodie, another person talking about special rights without acknowledging the special discrimination faced by gay and lesbian people.

JoStalin - if you don't want to hear any more about special rights, then work with us to end discrimination.

Unless, of course, your point is that you WANT to have the special right to make gay people's lives harder.

Posted by: jamshark70 | March 7, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Homophobia is intolerance which brings no benefit. Cuccinelli is the worst state general attorney. McDonnell is the wrong person for governor which is why I'm glad I voted for Deeds. Universities make their own rules so if a university has a rule which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or both, then the university has done a good thing. Equality Virginia has done a good thing by sending a letter to McDonnell so that he will support a bill which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in state jobs. McDonnell's decision to abandon bills which would have prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in jobs is a shame and is a liar for saying that he supports nondiscrimination. All this makes McDonnell to be a bad governor.

Posted by: LibertyForAll | March 7, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm waiting with interest to see if at some point someone in state government will refuse to hire or promote someone, or else choose to fire them, because they are straight, explaining that they believe the job would be more appropriately filled by a gay person. As far as I can tell, that would be A-OK by Governor McDonnell and the Attorney General.

Or am I wrong about that, and discrimination against straight people on the basis of their sexual orientation would be "obviously" wrong -- that it's just prejudice against gays that's so very understandable to these folks? I have a strong suspicion that discrimination against someone with a heterosexual orientation might not be met with the same placid, smiling inaction (and tacit endorsement) as the notion of anti-gay bigotry.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | March 7, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Arguing with someone who styles themselves as "JoStalin" should be some indication that you're going to be wasting your time right off the bat.

The fact is these guys ran on bread & butter issues, gave the usual lies about governing moderately, and then proceed to waste lots of the citizenry's time & money with social radicalism as soon as they get in office. That's like rule #1 in the GOP play book on how to get elected so that they can then ignore issues that matter in favor of religious & socially extremist behavior.

Ken Cuccinelli is an amoral dirtbag who shouldn't have been elected to this office, or any other. He's an evil small minded man who enjoys being blinded by simplistic ideology of hatred.

Equality Virginia should just count it as a victory if these radical extremists don't start turning violent. They count amongst them a lot of seditious hate filled religious radicals who want to repeal the establishment clause. To them, lynching queers and dragging blacks to death behind pickup trucks are just good ways to do the Lord's work. Their fellow travelers like Ken Cuccinelli knowingly & willingly serve in a role to facilitate the hatred of other citizens.

Posted by: Nymous | March 8, 2010 5:33 AM | Report abuse

every virginian should be treated the same...
if not, thats why there are courts...
but sexuality doesn't get you a place in a school...
if there is someone more deserving...

Posted by: DwightCollins | March 8, 2010 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Once again social conservatives are attempting policy that will loose them hundreds of millions of dollars in investment for R&D in universities and industry.

Take away the protections for the LGBT community in your state universities, then they will leave, their research teams will leave, their families will leave, and so on. With them leave thier contracts for privatley funded research, NSF grants and any future ouside investment into the state which would benefit Virginia business and workers.

Ask Kansas how much money they lost just in the biotechnology sector when they took evolution out of their HS science textbooks in the 90's.

Looks like Ken Cucinelli missed that day in ECON 101 when the lecture was on lost opportunity costs. Don't worry Ken, Maryland will be happy to take your best researchers and put them to work. Out here in Ohio we're happy to have them--even church schools like Mount Union have domestic partner benefits.

Ken and his supporters need to look over Richard Florida's Flight of the Creative Class. There he will find out about a word that even Jesus would agree with, tolerance.

Posted by: professor70 | March 8, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

JoStalin's just upset because the state can still discriminate against him and other sociopaths.

Posted by: MAL9000 | March 8, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

The Gov is waiting on orders from Pat Robertson before proceeding.

Posted by: willandjansdad1 | March 8, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Homosexuality is a filthy, disease-ridden practice explicitly condemned by God.

Posted by: tjhall1 | March 8, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Homosexuality is a filthy, disease-ridden practice explicitly condemned by God.
Posted by: tjhall1

TJ....In a free society, I have the right to be just as "filthy and disease ridden" as I want to be. Move to a fundamentalist Muslim country and maybe they will let you be on a "sinner death squad".

Posted by: willandjansdad1 | March 8, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Homosexuality is a condition or state of being, as well as, a lifestyle. So, on a state level does is matter if it's in the legislature since discrimination based on sexual orientation is against Federal law? Although it will take longer to prosecute of course, it just makes penalties against the state more harsh, doesn't it.

Posted by: lidiworks1 | March 8, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Tell them to kiss off Gov. They didn't vote for you anyway. They love the Democrats.

Posted by: jackp1 | March 8, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Homosexuality is a filthy, disease-ridden practice explicitly condemned by God.
Posted by: tjhall1
=======
Homosexuality is only a taint away from heterosexual sex. How can one be considered disgusting and the other not?

Most STDs are passed from female prostitutes to their male clients to their female wives. Talk about filthy.

Posted by: HookedOnThePost | March 8, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

So, if I'm not as protected as other residents of VA, do I get a special discount on my VA taxes?

Earth to Cuccinelli: What large employer is going to want to set up shop in VA with stupid exclusions like this? It's long overdue for VA to stop the "Old(and bigoted)Dominion" nonsense and get out of the anachronistic 1950's mindset.

Posted by: fluxgirl | March 8, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Jo Stalin - Such ignorant blather, referencing an utterly irrelevant novel. How can they be running things, if they can't even hold down jobs? Your glib willingness to deny your fellow citizens rights, only demonstrates you to be unworthy of them yourself.

Posted by: FredEvil | March 8, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

jamshark70 wrote:

Oh goodie, another person talking about special rights without acknowledging the special discrimination faced by gay and lesbian people.

JoStalin - if you don't want to hear any more about special rights, then work with us to end discrimination.

Unless, of course, your point is that you WANT to have the special right to make gay people's lives harder.
=======================================
What s/he said.

Posted by: carlaclaws | March 8, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I am happy to see McDonnell and VA GOP take the course they have chosen ... more fear and hate.
This will doom McDonnell's future national political plans.

Posted by: knjincvc | March 8, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I am happy to see McDonnell and VA GOP take the course they have chosen ... more fear and hate.
This will doom McDonnell's future national political plans.

Posted by: knjincvc | March 8, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

But gays like you claim you want to be treated equal????

Posted by: askgees | March 8, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Reading these comments gave me such a laugh. For all of the hysterics leveled at me by the pantywaisted crowd, they still failed to address the central issue: are homosexuals in the Commonwealth so oppressed that they need to be considered a "protected class".

Put another way, just because deer are hunted, they still wouldn't qualify as an "endangered species".

Posted by: JoStalin | March 8, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Why is anybody surprises by this. It was very evident when these two were running what their positions were. As a VA resident it saddens me to see the state regress into the 17th century. These two will reshape VA in the image of Pat Robertson. VA will become one of the most intolerant states in the country soon. Sad.

Posted by: hmrc1 | March 8, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

More power to Bob McDonnell and his rational and realistic stance on citizens requiring constitutional protection. While gender and race protection is warranted, sexual preference is a chosen lifestyle and would be a topic of never ending abuse. It is good to see an un corrupted voice in government for a change. How long will it last?

Posted by: longbow651 | March 8, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

LOL sorry but butt fu$%ing your boy friend is not a RIGHT. Does su$%ing d#$k make you stup1d???

Posted by: askgees | March 8, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

...plenty of straight & heterosexual couples engage in those above activities, as well; are you trying to imply that women are stupid?

Posted by: kmh2 | March 8, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

VIRGINIA IS FOR HATERS

Posted by: coloradodog | March 8, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

longbow651 said "...sexual preference is a chosen lifestyle..." It baffles me how people can think this. As a hetero I am helplessly and deeply attracted to women. I don't "choose" to be, it happens at a very deep level. But if this was merely a "chosen lifestyle" then I would randomly be attracted to whatever gender was next to me that day. It should be obvious that sexual orientation is sexual orientation, not a matter like picking a blue or a white shirt on a given day.
longbow651 would make sense only if he/she experienced his/her own sexual interest in a random manner, and had to exercise great daily willpower in order to feign interest in only the opposite sex.

Posted by: ClarkKent1 | March 8, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Gov. Bob McDonnell speaks for me. As a taxpayer and university alumni, I'm tired of having this pig-slop perversion served up to kids as normal.

VIRGINIA IS FOR LOVERS ... NOT SODOMITES & PEDOPHILES

Posted by: penniless_taxpayer | March 8, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse


penniless_taxpayer said: "...As a taxpayer and university alumni, I'm tired of having this pig-slop perversion served up to kids as normal. VIRGINIA IS FOR LOVERS ... NOT SODOMITES & PEDOPHILES"

Sorry your education was faulty. You are saying that prohibiting a form of job discrimination is perversion. What you mean to say is that you think homosexuality is perversion. Think that if you want, but do you think all persons who are gay should not be allowed to work?

Re: sodomite - the odds are that you one too. Look up the meaning of that.
Re: pedophiles - that has nothing to do being gay. You should know that.

Posted by: ClarkKent1 | March 8, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

It kills me that people feel so free to use Christianity to legitimize -- and now legalize -- hate and prejudice. That's all this is, really. Religiously-inspired "I'm superior to you" garbage, all in the name of Jesus Christ.

Posted by: AndreaGaines | March 8, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

the public only provides ~10% of state school budgets anyway, so just privatize them and tell the AG to pound sand. c'mon, what's a measly 10%?

Posted by: millionea7 | March 8, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"Once again social conservatives are attempting policy that will loose them hundreds of millions of dollars in investment for R&D in universities and industry."

I'm not convinced of this at all.

The AG's opinion seems to assert that policies which have no legal basis should be rescinded. Who can oppose that?

Can the gay and lesbian activist posting here cite a specific example of harm caused by legal, anti-discrimination university policies?

Posted by: blasmaic | March 8, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

blasmaic said: "The AG's opinion seems to assert that policies which have no legal basis should be rescinded. Who can oppose that?" Governor McDonnell can oppose that, since the AG's "advice" would apply to McDonnell's own office policy.

"Can the gay and lesbian activist posting here cite a specific example of harm caused by legal, anti-discrimination university policies?"
I don't know about other posters but I'm not a 'gay and lesbian activist', I'm just a citizen interested in fairness and civil rights.
You ask about harm caused by legal anti-discrimination policies - that sounds confused - what did you mean by that? Sounds like you are in favor of such policies - in that case, we agree.

Posted by: ClarkKent1 | March 8, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey Blasmaic,

Revocation of a right already recognized does NOT represent a return to the status quo ante. It represents a deliberate intention to deprive some people of rights that other people retain. And it is particularly scummy when the "rationale" for this is based on a government official's religious views. Governor McDonnell and AG Cuccinelli could just as easily, and just as stupidly, bar clean-shaven men, or redheads, or left-handed people, from working for state government. They could even more easily bar people who happen to enjoy bacon cheeseburgers since in addition to the Biblical arguments they could claim that doing so would help save health insurance costs.

There's a reason why the states that are most infested by Christianists are also the ones that are most prone to floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, early childbirth, and excess divorce. It MAY be that God is trying to tell these people to get with the program, to stop taking his/her/its/their name in vain, and to recognize that his house has many mansions.

Posted by: edallan | March 8, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

"Reading these comments gave me such a laugh. For all of the hysterics leveled at me by the pantywaisted crowd, they still failed to address the central issue: are homosexuals in the Commonwealth so oppressed that they need to be considered a "protected class".

Put another way, just because deer are hunted, they still wouldn't qualify as an "endangered species"."

Reading your comment gave me such a laugh. For all of the hysterics you level at the gays you secretly think are after you, you still fail to address the central issue: are homophobes truly evil or just "scared".

Put another way, just because homophobes write into political fora just to air their bile, doesn't mean they aren't peeking into the Men2Men message boards.

Keep desperately trying to sound above it all and amused. You're just one closet door away from joining the likes of Larry Craig and Ted Haggard. The louder they preach against homosexuality, the harder they fall. It happens again and again. See you on the other side of the closet door!

Posted by: NYC123 | March 8, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

"Reading these comments gave me such a laugh. For all of the hysterics leveled at me by the pantywaisted crowd, they still failed to address the central issue: are homosexuals in the Commonwealth so oppressed that they need to be considered a "protected class".

Put another way, just because deer are hunted, they still wouldn't qualify as an "endangered species"."

Reading your comment gave me such a laugh. For all of the hysterics you level at the gays you secretly think are after you, you still fail to address the central issue: are homophobes truly evil or just "scared".

Put another way, just because homophobes write into political fora just to air their bile, doesn't mean they aren't peeking into the Men2Men message boards.

Keep desperately trying to sound above it all and amused. You're just one closet door away from joining the likes of Larry Craig and Ted Haggard. The louder they preach against homosexuality, the harder they fall. It happens again and again. See you on the other side of the closet door!

Posted by: NYC123 | March 8, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Glad my degree isn't from a Virginia state school. When the highly regarded faculty start jumping ship due to policies of intolerance, the reputation and value of your W&M, UVa, or VT degree starts to drop.

Maybe Bob's plan is replace UVa with Regent "University" to be Virginia's flagship college.

Remember people. You should bother showing up next time to the polls. Voter turnout sucked last fall and we got Taliban Bob and Grand Kleagle Ken dragging the Commonwealth back to the 50's.

What is next? The return of Jim Crow Laws? Poll Taxes? Is Ken going to challenge integrated schools again? I am sure he is sick of seeing those couple dark skinned kids in his kid's class picture.

Posted by: BurtReynolds | March 8, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

An accolyte of Pat Robertson is going to recognize gay rights? Are you crazy? God will strike Virginians dead with an earthquake or a tsunami or pestilence or a comet or a meteor.

Posted by: jjedif | March 8, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

ClarkKent1 wrote:
longbow651 would make sense only if he/she experienced his/her own sexual interest in a random manner, and had to exercise great daily willpower in order to feign interest in only the opposite sex.
============================

There are people that sexually swap back and forth by the week depending on how they “feel” at the time. Your sexual choices are your own as well as the level of your sexual self discipline. Sexual offenders use the same argument that they can not help themselves. Schizophrenics also can not help themselves but I do not hear them asking for “political status” demanding that their condition is accepted as normal, healthy or wholesome and considered protected as gender or race differences determine. To allow this type of stupidity and bias in governmental can only be described as deviant and corrupt. When people act normal they should be treated normal and allowed the prescribed protections provided by a just and well founded government.

When people act other than normal in the sense nature intended, those actions (as long as others are not affected) may be tolerated by society depending on the level of society but by no means encouraged or sanctioned by government to be singled out for special treatment because they insist on performing deviant or perverted actions. Sodomy may well be a pleasurable experience between heterosexual as well as homosexual, but neither should seek political assurance that it is acceptable as natural acts by the public.

While deviant sexual acts may be tolerated in society between consenting adults, why would a legitimate government allow a marriage between two people of the same sex when natural procreation will not take place and therefore there is no legitimate reason for even keeping a record of linage or ancestry as actual marriage prescribes.

It seems to me our society has lost it’s ability to grow past the adolescence of sexual experimentation and arrived at the notion that it is just a normal phase in immature adults. My concern is that no other healthy specie of animal on earth continues through it’s lifespan seeking the same sex to mate with. How can animals with limited intelligence seem to get it right and humans seem to have such a problem adjusting to normal?

Posted by: longbow65 | March 8, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

There's a young (K or Gr.1) student kicked out of a Catholic school because his/her mother is living with another woman.
http://www.cathnewsusa.com/article.aspx?aeid=19928

Posted by: edlharris | March 8, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Don't waste your breath, time, and energy on asking the Governor for help on this issue, the AG could not have done any thing without the approval of the Governor, a grade schooler know's that the Governor is the Head Hate Hunter on this issue

Posted by: onesugar | March 8, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Cuccinelli is a Theocrat who believes Man's laws don't apply to him, he's on a mission from God.

The Virginia Assembly through Virginia Code Section 23-9.2:3 gives Universities powers over hiring decision criteria. He ignored that, didn't even mention it in his letter.

Section 2.2-505 says the AG can *only* give an opinion when asked for *in writing* and *by the recipient*, just to stop things like this happening. He ignored that too.

Posted by: aebrain | March 10, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company