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, McDonnell 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 workers.

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.”