Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II continues to speak out on why he called on state universities and colleges to rescind anti-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation.

Cuccinelli's latest remarks appear in a Saturday op-ed in the Richmond Times Dispatch.

He writes that his office received numerous inquiries on the subject. While he believes that “government should not single out anyone for negative treatment,” he insists that “A public university simply lacks the power to create a new specially protected class under Virginia law.”

“Virginia's public universities are, at all times, subject to the control of the General Assembly,” he adds. “They have no authority greater than that which has been granted them by the General Assembly.”

Cuccinelli, a Republican who took office in January, found himself in a firestorm of controversy when various media sources reported that the state's top attorney called such measures illegal in a letter written to the state's public schools.

“It is my advice that the law and public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia prohibit a college or 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 to “take appropriate actions to bring their policies in conformance with the law and public policy of Virginia.”

School officials, students and campus organizations loudly objected to Cuccinelli's letter. On Wednesday of last week, more than 1000 students rallied at Richmond's Virginia Commonwealth University and another 200 at the Statehouse to protest the AG's position.

Governor Bob McDonnell stepped in hoping to cool down the situation. McDonnell directed state agencies not to discriminate against gay people in the area of employment, overriding Cuccinelli's opinion. The Republican governor omitted such protections in his February 5 executive order.

This session, House lawmakers have rejected three slightly-varied measures that sought to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (transgender protections).

Gay activists say McDonnell should press lawmakers to approve the measures.