Va. Democrats Warn: Cuccinelli and Governor Jeoporadize State
David Englin, Va Dem. /3-10-10"Ken Cuccinelli wants to hang a sign in front of the public colleges and universities of this commonwealth that reads 'Gays need not apply,' " said Del. David Englin of Alexandria.
In Richmond, Virginia, several lawmakers said Tuesday on the floor of the House of Delegates that the state's failure to protect gays is a national embarrassment and might have negative consequences for the state's economy.
Dissenting Delegates and a Rare Legislative Move
The group of dissenting delegates was comprised of Democrats. In a rare - and unsuccessful - legislative move Tuesday, they tried to revive the bill which made discrimination due to sexual orientation illegal for public employees.
Bill SB66, authored by Richmond Democrat Senator Donald McEachin, had passed through the Democrat majority Senate in a vote of 23- 17 but when it reached the subcommittee in the Republican controlled House, the bill died.
With the statement, "The eyes of the nation are upon us," Del. Ken Plum of Fairfax County tried to bring the bill to the floor for a full House vote, but that maneuver failed on a vote of 55-42.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's recent letter to state universities which advised that anti-discriminatory policies with regard to gays must be rescinded due to lack of state authorization has been viewed as a crisis by Va. Democrats.
Some have cautioned that companies might be deterred by the state's stance on the issue. One such is military contractor Northrop Grumman Corporation, which is deciding if it might move its headquarters from Los Angeles to Richmond. As many companies now have adopted anti-discrimination policies involving sexual orientation, it was pointed out that Virginia may now appear retrograde to national policy.
Viewed as a Civil Rights Regression and Backlash grows
Apparently some Virginia students at universities and colleges funded by the state's government are viewing the moves by the Governor and the State's attorney as a regression in civil rights. Reportedly, over 3,000 students have joined the Facebook page, "We Don't Want Discrimination in Our Colleges and Universities". There have been media reports of a growing backlash against the moves by Virginia's Governor, State Attorney, and Republican Senate.
Accusing Cuccinelli of "outrageous and ideological zealotry," Del. Adam Ebbin of Arlington County said state universities' accreditations could be put at risk if they followed the attorney general's advice.
[. . . ]Unlike his two Democratic predecessors, McDonnell has declined to proclaim a policy of nondiscrimination against gays by executive order.
McDonnell and Cuccinelli are both Republicans. [. . . ]
The vote on Plum's motion went generally along party lines, with a few exceptions. Six Republicans, including Dels. Bob Tata and Ron
Villanueva of Virginia Beach, voted to bring the McEachin bill to the floor. Three Democrats, including Del. Johnny Joannou of Portsmouth, voted no.
The only defense of the state's current policy on the House floor came from Del. Bob Marshall, R-Prince William County, who said McEachin's bill seeks to protect "behavior that many find against traditional morals."