RICHMOND -- Hoping to quell a growing uproar on Virginia's college campuses over gay rights, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell issued a directive to all 102,000 state employees Wednesday that prohibits discrimination in the state workforce, including on the basis of sexual orientation, and warns he will reprimand or fire anyone who engages in it.
McDonnell's directive comes a week after Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) distributed a letter to the state's public colleges and universities asking them to remove references to sexual orientation from their campus nondiscrimination policies. Cuccinelli says that only the General Assembly has the authority to extend legal protections to gays.
McDonnell (R) has said he supports the legal reasoning of that opinion, which mirrored his advice on the issue as attorney general. The governor said Wednesday that he continues to believe that without legislative approval, universities and state agencies cannot issue orders that would allow employees or others to sue in state court over discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
And, in a departure from his Democratic predecessor's stance, McDonnell issued an executive order last month, which carries the force of law, on the issue of workplace discrimination that did not mention sexual orientation.
But McDonnell said Wednesday that Cuccinelli's letter had caused confusion and anger among students, college presidents and others that he could address with a clear statement opposing discrimination and a promise to use the human resources process to punish an employee found to have shown bias.
Last night on Rachel Maddow (msnbc.com), she made it clear that a directive is a "hint," a "suggestion," while an executive directive is law. The Governor made a directive, NOT an executive order.
The directive is not enough.
The Governor thinks LGBTQ people and straight allies are fools.
VA is still not for some kinds of lovers.