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March 6, 2010

VA rollback of protection for universities, state workers shows that as the culture changes, GOP clings to anti-gay policies

Several weeks ago, an executive order by Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell reversed protections that his predecessor, Democrat Tim Kaine, had provided to state employees against discrimination based on sexual orientation. As a follow-on, the state's socially conservative attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, has now told the state's public colleges and universities to rescind policies that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, arguing in a letter sent to each school that their boards of visitors had no legal authority to adopt such statements. Cuccinelli claims that only the state's legislature can extend legal protections to gay state employees, students and others. 

For the sake of their academic reputations and ability to attract the best faculty and students, one hopes the schools will ignore or challenge Cuccinelli's advice.  According to the Human Rights Campaign, 109 of the US News top 120 colleges and universities maintain non-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation, and 57 cover gender identity.

-SS

March 6, 2010 | Permalink

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