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UPDATED: Va. corrections department sticks with gay policy, despite Cuccinelli concerns

Rosalind Helderman

The Democratic-appointed Virginia Board of Corrections has adopted a resolution reaffirming a nondiscrimination policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, overruling concerns expressed by a representative from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's office.

The wording of the resolution was modeled on an an existing Department of Corrections policy, specifically adopted last year to bring the department into line with Gov. Tim Kaine's Executive Order Number 1, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

That would be the same executive order that Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has essentially repealed, arguing it went beyond the authority granted to the executive office by the General Assembly.

The board agreed the Corrections department shall "make all employment decisions based on one's merits and qualifications and specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, retaliation, age, political affiliation, sexual orientation, veteran status, and person with disabilities, except when age or sex is a bona fide occupational qualification."

So does McDonnell agree with the Board of Corrections resolution?

It's not entirely clear.

James Socas, who was appointed to the board by Gov. Mark Warner (D) in 2005 and reappointed by Kaine (D) last year, said he believed that the board's resolution is "consistent" with the executive directive issued by McDonnell on the subject, the non-legally binding document McDonnell put forward to quiet controversy on the issue after Cuccinelli told public colleges they could not have policies like this one.

McDonnell has said the difference between his directive and Kaine's order was that the directive governed only workplace policy, while the order gave employees who believed they had been discriminated against access to the courts. But if departments believe the directive empowers them to have identical policies to those written in response to the order, is there really a difference between them?

State agencies and colleges and universities around the state are now going to be sorting out that very issue. Does McDonnell's executive directive empower them to keep policies they adopted in response to the executive order the governor rejected?

Complicating the issue is that boards deciding the point will be holdovers, appointed by Democratic governors. Already, the boards of visitors at George Mason University and Mary Washington University have decided to hold firm to their past policies.

We've asked the governor's office for their thoughts on these resolutions and will bring their response when we receive it.

But draft minutes of the March 17 meeting at which the board adopted the policy indicate that Senior Assistant Attorney General Alan Katz expressed reservations.

"After reviewing the proposed Resolution, Mr. Katz stated that the Attorney General of Virginia has spoken and offered his opinion on the subject," the minutes state.

Katz expressed particular concerns about a board proposal to direct the Director of Corrections on the matter, and the board agreed to amend the resolution to "reaffirm" its previous commitment, rather than direct the head of the department to take action on the issue.

"The view of the board was that there was political schism, which we really did not want to get into," Socas said in an interview. "There appear to be within the executive branch different views on the question of sexual orientation and whether that is a protected class. The attorney general has a view on that. The governor has a view on that. And there seems to be some ambiguity between the two. The view of the board was that we should provide clarification."

Brian Gottstein, a spokesman for Cuccinelli, declined to comment, beyond to say that the "attorney general has already provided legal advice in the matter of protected classes, informing state agencies of the current status of Virginia law."

UPDATE: Tucker Martin, a spokesman for the governor, sent us the following response to this issue. He did not directly address whether the governor believes the Board of Corrections resolution is consistent with his directive. He said only this: "The Governor will not tolerate discrimination of any kind in state government. His Executive Directive makes this firm policy clear and state agencies must act accordingly."

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 26, 2010; 11:31 AM ET
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Homosexuality is a filthy, disease-ridden practice explicitly condemned by God.

Posted by: tjhall1 | March 26, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

why doesn't ken c just face reality...we are now in the 21st century...he continues to dissgrace virginia

Posted by: fairness3 | March 26, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

@tjhall1: As I recall, Jesus was really fond of people like that. It was the judgmental hypocrites with whom he had a problem. Maybe you should think on that.

Posted by: redgrifn | March 26, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Cuccinelli is a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. He and the "McGov" are busy persecuting some of our finest citizens when they should be working for justice and a better Virginia.Can't wait to vote them both out of office, or could we start impeachment proceedings ?

Posted by: lsf07 | March 26, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey know what they say about those to scream the loudest. Maybe you're trying to cover something up about yourself that you aren't comfortable with yet. No worry though, you can at least get hired by the corrections department.

Posted by: Reality6 | March 26, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Thank God there are still some intelligent people in the Commonwealth of Virginia!

Posted by: GenuineRisk | March 26, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Another defeat for Ken Kookynutty!

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | March 26, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Of all the problems facing VA, foreclosures, unemployment, homelessness, education funding, etc and Cuccinelli picks this as an issue to focus on right out the box? Obsolutely crazy. This man needs to find another job, he obviously hasn't a clue want really matters to the majority of VA citizens. Allowing employees to discriminate against GAY citizens by removing such protection is not right and will keep us paying for the lawsuits when the State is sued. If C. Deeds hadn't run such a horrible and sorry campaign for the Gov. office, we would have not be having this conversation. We need to get this fool out of office.

Posted by: Pstacy | March 26, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

tjall1 is either looking for a charge or is an idiot. Don't swallow the bait.

Posted by: ajlerner1 | March 26, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes spiritual forces working on Christians attract educated people at a late age (over 18, statistically when it is too late for most to be saved). I was a college grad in sociology which is usually hostile to organized religion.

Posted by: cmarshdtihqcom | March 26, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

@tjhall1 your faith is not my faith. Your God is not my God. You are welcome to believe as you like; however, I am a citizen and as such am entitled to equal protection under the law and should not be subject to the whims of your chosen faith.

I would also point out that you are currently protected from employment discrimination based on your religious beliefs; something which is most decidedly a choice. I'll give your arguments credence as soon as you start fighting to repeal those laws, too.

Posted by: spalding2 | March 26, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

It least half of belief is emotional, what you WANT to see. Or DON'T WANT to see, for whatever reason, to protect a certain lifestyle for example. No offense intended.

Not trying to protect a sexual lifestyle I cannot yet find, I am free to sit on a cloud and enjoy the following
1. I will be perfect in Heaven, no character flaws, no aging, no disabilities, maybe no obesity?
2. Heaven is a happy place. Jesus loves people and wants to save them and give them a mansion in Heaven, invite them to a feast. Satan just wants to take people with him to Hell.
3. I think my mom is there, certainly other relatives are
4. Left Behind suggests you can look into the historical past and indulge your curiosity. Maybe you will know all things scientific too.

There is no room on my cloud for having a hate.

"I don't want to comedown from this cloud"
Sixteen Stone

Posted by: cmarshdtihqcom | March 26, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm so proud that Mary Washington University is giving that old bigot Kenny the finger! Hopefully, Virginia's other great institutions of higher learning will follow suit.

Posted by: bgd1964 | March 26, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

The GOP bigots are nauseating. But we already knew that.

Posted by: Brittman1 | March 26, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

. Heaven is a happy place. Jesus loves people and wants to save them and give them a mansion in Heaven, invite them to a feast. Satan just wants to take people with him to Hell.
3. I think my mom is there, certainly other relatives are

Just askin', is Mom and the other relatives in Heaven or Hell. Or is Mom in Heaven, 'cause the relatives are in Hell. I'd understand that, too. So'd you, if you knew my sister....

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | March 26, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

The funny part is, it's not the homosexuality (ie, partnering) that bothers so many of the anti-gay folks, it's the images in their own minds of two men or two women having sex. Arrgh, a man and a man. Icky icky.

Well, I have images of Rush Limbaugh, Haley Barbour, Newt Gingrich, and Bill O'Reilly naked, sweaty, and saying who's your daddy, and I don't care who they are with-the reaction is Arrghh, Icky Icky, Buick, Buick, empty the trash can!

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | March 26, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it obvious Ken Cuccinelli is an attention grabber and likes his name in the headlines? The man is ambitious. He obviously has loftier aspirations than being Virginia's AG. He as already sued EPA and the affordable health care act, and has alienated state employees with his pro-discrimination stance with gays. This stuff will continue. What can you say, we elected this wonderful Taliban kinda guy. Let the man do his thing I guess and ignore him. He may want to impose a 5 pm curfew for gays, atheists, minorities, women, gun-free households, non-christians, college professors, progressives, pro-lifers, and surfer dudes but it's not going to happen.

Posted by: citizen4truth1 | March 26, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

fairness3 ~ whatever you said, no one particularly cares.

This is Virginia, not San Francisco.

You got a complaint, take it to those bad boys.

Posted by: muawiyah | March 26, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

redgrifn ~ "judgmental hypocrites"?

No, I think the issue Jesus had was with people who claim anybody else ought to be concerned with hypocrisy.

The "judgmental" part is in a different section and goes into substantial detail how and why Christians MUST judge and use judgment.

Frankly, you should keep your nose out of my business ~ mostly because it's my business and not yours.

Posted by: muawiyah | March 26, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

And just a God comment here: The supposed biblical basis for being anti-gay is Deuteronomy, in the Ye Olde Testament, which I would point out in Chapter 22 goes on in great length about putting adulterers to death by stoning. I'd like to see how many "adulterers" are in favor of THIS part of the Bible. Which of course would include ANYONE who has sex outside of marriage, as we recall Jesus at the Well, and the woman "who had five husbands" due to having sex with five different men. She was not castigated by Jesus, but asked to give Him water from the well, while he explained the Living waters of God. Why didn't Jesus Have Her Stoned?

I view this as a repudiation of prior precedent. If you are a Christian, and most of the gay-haters claim they are, then you must reconcile the parables of Jesus (Lord of Lords, Host of Hosts, The Way, The Word, Lamb of God Who Takes Away The Sins of the World) with the Old Testament. He says things invoking love for the despised (tax collectors, lepers, prostitutes) and forgiveness of sins. Didn't seem to go on hating so much, by my reading, except for the money changers' tables in the Temple when he was what, twelve? After the dustup, Joseph asked where he'd been, and Jesus said in his Father's House. Probably getting some words from the Old Man upstairs.

If you are a believer, point to the passages in the New Testament where God, the Son of God, or any Mighty Prophet, has said "I hate." Doesn't matter the subject, just "I hate..." Now, tell me where Jesus said "I hate." Even John, after living in the desert eating locusts and honey for thirty years, doesn't say "I hate". Wouldn't have blamed him, for sure.

Can't speak for God, but I bet Jesus cares more about how we get along together as a Tribe than as to what we do as a couple in bed. This from an unrepentant non-homosexual.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | March 26, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Virginians elected a moron. And now good sense and fair-and-decent mindedness appear in the dissents that we are seeing.

Posted by: dorofacol | March 26, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

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

Posted by: tjhall1 |

Thats easy to say on a web blog, now go to a friend, family member or co worker and say it to their face. Coward.

Posted by: ged0386 | March 26, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

God is Gay.

Posted by: JoeMck | March 26, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse


*deep breath*


Smacked down yet again, you homophobic carpetbagger. GO HOME, Cuccinelli. GO BACK TO JERSEY (not that they want you there either). Virginia doesn't need your divisive, hate-fuilled views. Go back to where you came from, like Ex-Senator Allen.

RogerRamjet2, excellent, eloquent, thoughtful post. Jesus preached Love. Over and over, love. He upheld the first two commandments and explicitly said that everything in the Old Testament ("the law and the prophets") were subordinate to Love God, and Love each other.

Posted by: NYC123 | March 26, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

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

Posted by: tjhall1 |

You can tell all the people who lacked attention as a kid. They still seek it as adults in any way they can, even making politically incorrect blogs on the internet. Just to see how many people respond to it. Well how does it feel to get so much response? Makes you feel important? Powerful perhaps? Get a life.

Posted by: ged0386 | March 26, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to the Virginia Department of Corrections!

Posted by: Batman56 | March 26, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

i'm thrilled this blew up in the AG's face. seriously, WTF was he thinking tackling a polarizing social conservative (non)issue right before the HCR court battle??

Posted by: millionea7 | March 26, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

From early on, Ken "Punchinello" was digging through the files looking to create problems, controversy, and dissent where there was little or none to begin with. Just wanted to throw his weight around and watch people suffer. What a waste of time, especially when there are real issues to be addressed.

I think he'd make a great tabloid reporter. Anyone know of a job opening?

Posted by: EdgewoodVA | March 26, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

God came to me in a vision and told me that Cuccinelli and McDonnell are both going to hell. He also told me that homosexuality is ok with him. Straight from the mouth of god himself.

Posted by: wiz_fan | March 26, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

I used to work for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

I could not believe the hypocrisy and bashing from “born again” Taliban Christian individuals. To read the AG supporting such discrimination and the Gov allowing makes me glad I moved and sad for Virginia.

Thank goodness for the Virginia Board of Corrections doing the right thing. Maybe the AG and Gov should follow their lead. Leadership is supposed to come from the top.

Posted by: Rush2112CA | March 26, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Where's the rational basis for allowing discrimination based on sexual orientation? That's not just a random post on a message board - it's the question the Supreme Court would have to ask if such an issue came before them.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | March 26, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Ken Cuccinelli seems to have his own agenda for Virginia, to include returning it to the Dark Ages. In addition to this 19th century ruling which pleases no one but the haters among us who seem to ignore Jesus' message of love and acceptance of all, he's spending much needed State funds to pursue a questionable suit vs. the federal government on the constitutionality of the Health Reform Act. Despite the fact that our duly elected US Senators both voted aye, as well as my own US Representative, not to mention the majority of Virginia voters who backed Obama in 2008 when he ran on a promise for universal health care, Ken thinks he alone knows best for me and them. And, to the deep embarrassment of every thinking Virginian, he's been caught on tape equivocating on the issue of Obama's place of birth by giving credence to these wackos who continue to believe - in spite of all evidence to the contrary - that Obama is not constitutionally qualified to be POTUS.

Posted by: rahrahrah | March 26, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

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