Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has backed off from supporting a gay protections law, the Washington Post reported.

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 Virginia campuses.