Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has
backed off from supporting a gay protections law, the Washington
The Republican governor told Post
columnist Bob McCartney that he might sign a law that outlaws
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation if lawmakers sent
one to his desk.
Soon after taking office in January,
McDonnell signed an anti-discrimination order protecting state
workers, but unlike his previous Democratic predecessors, McDonnell
did not include sexual orientation in his order.
McDonnell defended his actions by
saying that he could not include such protections without the
authority from the General Assembly, which has killed 3 such bills in
the current legislative session.
On Thursday, however, McDonnell
backpedaled his support on the Ask the Governor program on
Richmond's WRVA radio.
“I don't know that we need it based
on the numbers that I've seen,” he said. “There really isn't any
rampant discrimination on any basis in Virginia. If you're going to
have a law, it needs to actually address a real problem.”
In an effort to cool a quickly
overheating situation, McDonnell directed state agencies not to
discriminate against gay people in the area of employment after
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II wrote to public colleges and
universities calling such protections illegal.
In that letter, Cuccinelli advised
schools to “take appropriate actions to bring their policies in
conformance with the law and public policy of Virginia.”
The move sparked a loud outcry on many