When I am abroad and people ask what I love about the US, I often say it is the concept and belief that all people are created equal. Sadly, this is the concept that is sometimes what makes me sad about America– the fact that we give it lip-service but do not live up to the ideal. I was saddened to read this today:
February 16, 2010 1:52PM
Gov. McDonnell has signed a new executive order that strips former protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation for employees of the Commonwealth of Virginia, while legislation to protect those employees has died in the state’s legislature.
On Monday, Feb. 8, the state Senate passed legislation to protect public employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The bill would have codified and expanded previous policy set by executive orders from former Governors Tim Kaine and Mark Warner based on sexual orientation only, but the legislation died in a House subcommittee on Tuesday, Feb. 9.
Gov. McDonnell first opposed protecting employees based on sexual orientation when he was Attorney General, arguing that the state’s discrimination policy should be defined by the legislature. His new order, which includes all previously protected categories including race, sex, religion and age – but not the previously protected category of sexual orientation – was signed on Feb. 5, but was first reported on Wednesday, Feb. 10. Current attorney general Ken Cuccinelli supports Gov. McDonell’s legal reasoning. The Governor has released a policy he recently sent to staff members and Cabinet secretaries indicating that his office would not discriminate “for any reason,” but his message could hardly be clearer: discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is not prohibited.
12 states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity for all public and private employers, and an additional 6 states have an executive or administrative order prohibiting discrimination against public employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity.