Thursday, February 18, 2010

Virginia governor rescinds protections for gays and lesbians

Gay and lesbian state workers in Virginia are no longer specifically protected against discrimination, thanks to a little-noticed change made by new Gov. Bob McDonnell.

McDonnell (R) on Feb. 5 signed an executive order that prohibits discrimination "on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, political affiliation, or against otherwise qualified persons with disabilities," as well as veterans.

It rescinds the order that Gov. Tim Kaine signed Jan. 14, 2006 as one of his first actions. After promising a "fair and inclusive" administration in his inaugural address, Kaine (D) added veterans to the non-discrimination policy -- and sexual orientation.

I think Kaine's spokesperson, Hari Sevugan, is absolutely right:

It says a lot about the Republican party that they would anoint as their "rising star" someone who in 2010 is actually stripping away from Americans legal protections against discrimination. Bob McDonnell is proving his critics right. He said he'd focus on creating jobs, not social issues. But, one of his first acts as Governor was to make it easier for a fellow citizen to be denied a job and he did so as an adherent to a right-wing ideology that allows for such discriminatory behavior. McDonnell's decision is just plain wrong in any context, but especially so in this economic climate.

With a Republican in the Virginia governor's mansion, bigotry, unsurprisingly, is back with a vengeance.

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