Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II has urged 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 that their boards of visitors had no legal authority to adopt such statements.
-- From "Virginia attorney general to colleges: End gay protections" by Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post Staff Writer 3/6/10
In his most aggressive initiative on conservative social issues since taking office in January, Cuccinelli (R) wrote in the letter sent Thursday that only the General Assembly can extend legal protections to gay state employees, students and others -- a move the legislature has repeatedly declined to take as recently as this week.
The letter demonstrates an increasing split in the region's policies on issues related to sexual orientation. It comes in the same week that the District began issuing marriage licenses for gay couples and a week after Maryland's attorney general announced that his state will recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Cuccinelli's move has dismayed students and faculty members. It suggests that Cuccinelli intends to take a harder line with the state's university system, where liberal academics have long coexisted uneasily with state leaders in Richmond.
"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 in the letter.
The former Fairfax County senator has signaled that he will be an activist attorney general. This month, he sued the federal Environmental Protection Agency, challenging its ruling that greenhouse gases pose a public health risk by contributing to global warming.
To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.