Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s campaign to make sure that every LGBT person can be fired for being gay is expanding to his state’s public universities.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II has asked the state’s public colleges and universities to rescind policies that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, arguing in a letter sent to each school Thursday that their boards of visitors have no legal authority to adopt such statements. In the letter, Cuccinelli (R) wrote that only the General Assembly can extend legal protections to gay state employees — a move the legislature has repeatedly declined to take, including as recently as this week.
“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,” he wrote. Colleges that have included such language in their policies — which include all of Virginia’s leading schools — have done so “without proper authority” and should “take appropriate actions to bring their policies in conformance with the law and public policy of Virginia,” Cuccinelli wrote.
Virginia is going to have a VERY hard time attracting top students and faculty after this, not to mention the inevitable backlash against people or companies willing to work with the Virginia higher education system. This is yet another example of the critical importance of ENDA.