Virginia's Attorney General is calling
on the state's colleges and universities to rescind
anti-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation, calling
such protections illegal, the Washington Post reported.
In a letter written to the schools, Ken
Cuccinelli II, a Republican who took office in January, suggested the
policies were illegal.
“It is my advice that the law and
public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia prohibit a college of
university from including 'sexual orientation,' 'gender identity,'
'gender expression,' or like classification as a protected class
within its non-discrimination policy absent specific authorization
from the General Assembly,” Cuccinelli said in his letter.
And he advised the schools should “take
appropriate actions to bring their policies in conformance with the
law and public policy of Virginia.”
The issue of gay protections has been a
hot topic at the Virginia Statehouse since Republican Governor Bob
McDonnell assumed office. As one of his first acts as governor,
omitted such protections for state workers. McDonnell's February
5 executive order replaced policies by Virginia's last two Democratic
governors which included employment protections for gay and lesbian
Lawmakers attempted to restore the
protections with three slightly-varied measures, but
members of a Republican-controlled House subcommittee killed the
bills. Last month, Democratic senators, with the aid of one
Republican, Senator Fred Quayle, approved a bill that would have
protected gay state employees from discrimination, but the bill was
quashed in the House.
All of Virginia's leading schools
provide such protections.
“It's going to be a mess,” Carl
Pucci, president of the student body at Old Dominion University, told
the paper. “There's no doubt about that. Our generation is really
open-minded. The concept of discrimination, we're just not
interested in that … I think you're going to see the whole gamut,
from angry letters to protests.”