Monday, March 15, 2010

Virginia, the State of Hate

As I have commented before, Virginia is a state of hate. Not sufficient is a bar to gay unions, Virginia actually has a law invalidating any private legal contracts intended to give couples any protections. (I remain deeply puzzled how this can be legal under equal protection laws.)

Now, under the rule of a new Governor and Attorney General, Virginia is going after GLBT people with even greater intent. Not satisfied with the status quo, the new Governor, Bob McDonnell, announced that he would not continue an executive order barring discrimination against GLBT state workers. Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli,a known hater, next announced that the state universities in Virginia were not allowed to have anti-discrimination statutes nor benefits for GLBT partners. In the competitive world of higher education, this means that they have just shot themselves in the foot for recruiting and retaining of students and faculty.

You see, it's not just GLBT students and faculty who are affected, but anyone who believes in diversity and humane values. And that means a lot of straight students and faculty will see Virginia as a place incompatible with their beliefs. Academics are idealists. It's why, after our years of advanced training, we are willing to be paid relatively little to do what we do. THere's a reason we call it "liberal arts".

So Cuccinelli has just made it clear to academics and students that Virginia is an unwelcoming and backward state. And he has made it clear to people already there, that they are not welcome. The best faculty will be the ones with choices. Time for other universities to take a look and start cherry picking.

As the WaPo editorialized,

These schools have been havens for inclusive policies that often go hand-in-hand with academic freedom. It's sad and telling that as one of his earliest acts in office, the attorney general would actively reach out to enable discrimination.

Gov McDonnell today reversed himself, but only superficially, by issuing a relatively weightless executive directive in

a bid to quell a controversy over discrimination and the state's power to prevent it.

The directive appears to counter both the governor's prior order and the legal advice of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who recently sent public colleges a letter arguing the institutions lacked the authority to include sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination policies.....

He turned to the U.S. Constitution to argue that gays are already protected. The 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, he wrote, prevents discrimination "based on factors such as one's sexual orientation."
Problem is, of course, he used a weightier executive ORDER to rescind the coverage. This is window dressing. As I've said before, Virginia's hate is the last gasp is a dying world view. But it is vicious and venomous none-the-less.


JCF said...

It IS a "superficial" reversal, as Rachel Maddow reported.

The reversal was an "Executive Directive", w/ NO force of law.

Whereas the REMOVAL of LGBTs from anti-discrimination protections was an "Executive Order" WITH the force of law.

The Governor wants to have his cake (siddown academics and students, and SHADDUP!) and Eat it alive (LGBTs), too.

IT said...

That's why I said it was superficial, but I've updated to include your point to make it clearer. Thanks, JCF.

it's margaret said...

The not too distant future will come when some of our LGBTQ citizens legally married in another State will end up taking it all to court. Between now and then, it's a lot of pain. And the Feds have to act first.

Now you now how you can pray for us. And, IT --love ya babe, but are you intending to rub salt in the open wounds?

IT said...

Not yours, dear Margaret.... you aren't the target of this as YOU SHOULD WELL KNOW. but the readership of THIS blog is often unaware of the nuances from different states. It's been one of my more interesting observations, seeing how the various communities of my blogs overlap, or not.

In the last week I have had several out-of-staters say to me, "oh, you're still married? I thought that proposition annulled it." These were work colleagues. But the casual "oh, your marriage is gone, right?" Can you imagine how fixed my smile became? These are nice people but they JUST DON'T KNOW. My heavens can you imagine what any one's response would be to that degree of thoughtlessness? As though it's no big deal?????

That's what this blog is for. Trying to get everyone to understand. People need to KNOW what is happening in Virginia, because people need to push back from all over to say NO this is not acceptable!

it's margaret said...

Ouch IT. That must have hurt to the bone. And I will join with you to tell the truth about VA to anyone. Bring it on.

The good news is we now have six same-sex legally married couples in our congregation. If we add all the years these six couples have been together, it would be upwards of 200 years. If we included all our couples, I would say we could probably approach the 800 year mark.... just sayin.