Thursday, March 11, 2010

VA Governor McDonnell Sees The Light (Sort Of)

"Discrimination against any class of people without a rational basis is forbidden" under the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution says an Executive Directive issued yesterday by Virgnia Governor Robert McDonnell. The directive goes on to mention specifically "sexual orientation and parental status" as categories for which there is no such rational basis for discriminating in employment. I welcome this directive, although it must be noted that it is merely a "directive" rather than an "order," the status of his earlier statement that excluded GLBT (plus) people from protection against employment discrimination in the state government of Virginia, with orders having the force of law whereas a directive is merely an advisory opinion.

This has been issued openly due to a massive political backlash against the advisory letter to state colleges and universities from Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli telling them that they could not forbid discrimination against gays in employment. Even campus Republican groups have objected, with fully universal condemnation coming out of campuses at all levels, as well as from business elites in Northern Virginia worried about the impact on the reputation of the Virginia system of higher education, and also gay activist groups descending en masse on Richmond to protest. Unsurprisingly Cuccinelli still has his defenders, including the wacko Delegate Robert Marshall who recently blamed disabled children on abortion and is now claiming that Cuccinelli's critics are motivated by "anti-Catholic" bias. Gag.

1 comment:

Barkley Rosser said...

I note that in yesterday's WaPo AG Cuccinelli reiterated his position that state universities and colleges could not implement anti-discrimination policies in hiring regarding GLBT plus people, given that the state legislature has not extended such protection formally. This puts him pretty clearly at odds with the governor, although he conceded that such folks are covered by the equal protection clause of the constitution. I guess he thinks that Virginia state law is supreme to federal law. Does he wish to refight the Civil War perchance?