Virginia Dems Call Governor’s Move a “Half-Measure”
In a move seen as an attempt to defuse growing anger and reaction throughout Virginia to State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s move to strip gays and lesbians of equal rights protections, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell issued the first Executive Directive of his new administration late today, an anti-discriminatory “Standard of Conduct.”
In the directive, the governor states, “The Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution prohibits discrimination without a rational basis against any class of persons,” adding that it includes “discrimination based on factors such as one’s sexual orientation.” He then states, “Discrimination against any class of persons without a rational basis is prohibited.”
The directive pertains to “the hiring, promotion, compensation, treatment, discipline and termination of state employees.”
Democratic Party of Virginia Executive Director David Mills released the following statement Wednesday in response to McDonnell’s directive:
“While we applaud the administrative gesture made by Governor McDonnell today, his non-binding statement of policy does little to protect Virginians from discrimination. The Governor is instituting half-measures necessitated by political crisis, and the time for these games is over. We call on Governor McDonnell to definitively and permanently eliminate the threat that discrimination poses to the lives, jobs, and welfare of all Virginians.
“Rather than play legal games, Governor McDonnell should just send down a bill that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Under Governors Warner and Kaine, Virginia became the best state for business by enacting the tolerant policies that attract world-class employers to our Commonwealth. No matter how many administrative gestures he makes, the fact remains that Bob McDonnell and his Ken Cuccinelli have rolled back protections against discrimination.”