Virginia NOW condemns the March 4 letter from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli informing state universities that their non-discrimination policies as applied to gays and lesbians are not authorized by state law and must be rescinded. NOW is committed to fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in all areas and supports the ACLU of Virginia’s position that “gays and lesbians are protected against governmental discrimination by the U.S. Constitution.” Universities are required to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation under the U.S. Constitution.
With the Republican administration less than two months old, its record on gay rights and women’s rights is dismal. Prior to Cuccinelli’s letter, Governor Bob McDonnell removed protections for gays and lesbians employed by the state from an executive order that had been issued by the two previous Virginia governors. McDonnell and Cuccinelli also supported two measures restricting women’s reproductive rights before the General Assembly (the “TRAP” bill and the “informed consent” bill). Governor McDonnell campaigned as a practical moderate, focused on generating more jobs in Virginia, and avoided the topics of abortion rights and gay rights. It is now abundantly clear that he has not changed from the person who wrote the infamous “treatise” on social policy and that he will pursue his offensive and discriminatory views on women’s equality and gay rights. We never had any illusions about Cuccinelli; we expect he will continue to find ways to use his office to push back human rights.
Virginians who believe in human rights must strenuously oppose these actions by McDonnell and Cuccinelli. The ACLU’s letter to colleges and universities letter is at: http://acluva.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/20100305CollegeNonDiscrimLtr.pdf
Cuccinelli’s letter is at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/Cuccinelli.pdf.
Rev. Robin Gorsline’s statement is at They’ve Gone Too Far. He is a voice for equality in Virginia and a Metropolitan Community Church pastor.