Michael Hamar

Equality Virginia Keeps Up the Pressure on McDonnell

Filed By Michael Hamar | March 18, 2010 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Politics
Tags: anti-gay discrimination, Bob McDonnell, employment discrimination, Equality Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia

Equality Virginia is continuing to keep the pressure on Virginia GOP Governor Bob McDonnell and the gay haters in the Virginia General Assembly by urging the leaders of Virginia's colleges EV.jpgand universities to lobby for the amendment of the state's nondiscrimination statute to include sexual orientation and gender identity and to also codify work place non-discrimination policies to afford such protections. The letter that Jon Blair, Executive Director of Equality Virginia, sent to college and university leaders can be found here.

Inasmuch as McDonnell has already stated in Executive Directive 1 (2010) that such discrimination violates the United States Constitution, one would think that the issue should not be so difficult. But that conclusion is not so simple. McDonnell's puppeteers at The Family Foundation are none too happy with his execution of Executive Directive 1 (2010) as evidenced by this blog entry on TFF's blog:

The Family Foundation has and continues to maintain that there is no need for special protections for homosexuals. As the issue was thoroughly debated and voted on multiple times throughout this year's General Assembly, no evidence of discrimination was presented. . . . we are concerned when the Governor's action is being heralded as a step forward by the ACLU and the state's largest homosexual lobby, Equality Virginia (Pilot on Politics).

In a statement, Kent Willis of the ACLU said, "We hope this is only the beginning, and that the Governor's example will inspire legislators to finally pass a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in both private and public sector employment."

Any thought that the groups and organizations behind this effort will stop at public employment is naive. It is very clear that they want to force private businesses -- including churches -- to abide by their morality.

As usually, The Family Foundation attributes its own motive of forcing its religious beliefs on all to those who merely want all citizens afforded equality under the civil laws. The Richmond Times Dispatch has more on EV's efforts to mobilize colleges and their students. Here are highlights:

Keeping pressure on state leaders over what they see as Virginia's weak anti-bias protections, gay-rights group Equality Virginia is calling on college and university leadership to join their push for a change in state law.

The letter from Equality Virginia Chief Executive Officer Jon Blair is the latest effort to keep heat on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's opinion that tax-supported colleges and universities have no legal foundation for protecting gay students and employees from discrimination.

If Democrats are smart, they will get engaged on this issue which resonates with college age voters who were noticeably absent at the polls last November. If the Democrats hope to eliminate GOP control of the House of Delegates in 2011 and thereby exert control over McDonnell and Cuccinelli, they need college age voters upset with the GOP to come out in force at the polls next year. As David Mixner has noted, this issue needs to be kept alive at all of Virginia's public campuses:

Facebook pages to oppose this effort are collecting an amazing number of students signing up to protest Cuccinelli. Just look at some of the numbers;

University of Virginia - 2,100 students
William and Mary - 2,100 students
Virginia Commonwealth University - 2,300 students
Virginia Tech - 1,600 students
University of Mary Washington - 1000 students


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Eric Payne | March 18, 2010 1:04 PM

I telephoned both the Office of the Governor of Virginia and the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia concerning the very public stance they've taken concerning non-heterosexually oriented persons in their state.

I also took this chance to complain to the Attorney General concerning a practice of some of Virginia's local law-enforcement jurisdictions, where they continue to make arrests for violations of Virginia's sodomy laws, imprisoning men for violations of those laws, then having the judges dismiss those charges when the men are brought to trial - not at arraignment, but at actual trial. I reminded the Virginia AG's Office of Lawrence v. Texas, and how the Supreme Court had issued a decision which negated all sodomy laws, nationwide.

The AG's Office informed me Virginia has not repealed their sodomy laws, so that arrest under those laws was still justified, and the process in place was correct: local jurisdictions follow the laws on the books, a trial court dismisses those charges to conform with federal court decisions; that was "how the system works."

Then the kicker:

"Y'all don't even live here, so it really doesn't affect you. Goodbye."

Click.

What a douche. In other words, "We make our own laws in these parts."

Again, this AG is a humiliation to the great Commonwealth of Virginia. He is a not so bright idealogue who has no role in the political process (other than his First Amendment rights). The pressure needs to remain on the Virginia General Assembly and the Governor. How have we gotten in this country to the point that the small minority of "Cuccinelli types" have so much power--they should be relegated back to their cults with candles, incense, grape juice and snakes where they belongs.

rapid butterfly | March 19, 2010 8:30 AM

Eric - may I ask what jurisdictions, specifically, are seeing the practice you describe? I am very interested in that issue.
~mina

To be honest, I don't know. I just know there was an ABC report about it in 2009 (I just happened to catch network news that night); the only reason ABC picked up on it was because a new sodomy bill was being debated in Virginia's legislature... two years post-Lawrence.

Eric is correct that the Virginia House of Delegates refused to repeal the Virginia sodomy statute even after the ruling in Lawrence v. Texas.

He is also correct in that I have indeed heard of it {the statute] being used even recently to arrest gays. As if our law enforcement officers don't have better things to do - like apprehend muggers, those who vandalize property, etc.

rapid butterfly | March 19, 2010 8:51 PM

yes, I knew that the legislature has refused to repeal the law.

I could have sworn there was case law, though, which rejected challenges to the statute on the basis of the lack of likelihood of prosecution. I really would like to know what jurisdictions are involved.