Officials and student leaders at Virginia colleges are reacting mutedly, so far, to an order from state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli that the schools stop protecting LGBT students.
In a letter (PDF) sent to the state’s public colleges and universities and obtained by the Washington Post, Cuccinelli declared that the schools don’t have the authority to uphold bans on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation when the state itself has no such ban.
“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,” the letter stated.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell last month reversed an eight-year-old executive order that banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in Virginia. The governor argued that only the state’s General Assembly had the power to institute such a policy in the first place.
A bill to ban discrimination against gays was introduced in Virginia’s legislature this year, but a Republican-led state House committee killed the bill this week.
The Washington Post reports that the state’s public colleges and universities aren’t jumping at the opportunity to rid themselves of a ban on anti-gay discrimination. So far, the College of William and Mary, Longwood University and Virginia Tech have all not responded to the attorney-general’s request.
A Virginia Tech spokesman told the Roanoke Times that school officials would have to “confer” about the attorney general’s assertion, and insisted the school’s discrimination policy could only be changed by a decision of the board of visitors.
Carl Pucci, student body president at Old Dominion University, told the Post‘s Rosalind Helderman that the move won’t be welcomed by today’s post-secondary students.
“It’s going to be a mess. There’s no doubt about that,” he said. “Our generation is really open-minded. The concept of discrimination, we’re just not interested in that … I think you’re going to see the whole gamut, from angry letters to protests.”
Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Rich Anthony held nothing back in his reaction to the news, calling the move “homophobic bigotry.”
“Virginia’s Attorney General is actually trying to make it easier for people to discriminate against gays and lesbians in Virginia,” he wrote on his blog. “This, despite the fact that the entire country is moving towards granting our GLBT fellow citizens equal rights with everyone else in all areas.”
Anthony added, “I strongly condemn the ever increasing message of intolerance coming from the Republican leadership in Richmond. I encourage them to reconsider their recent actions that have not only harmed our fellow Virginians but also tarnished our beloved Commonwealth’s image.”
Trump: ‘Any Jewish people’ who vote for Democrats have ‘a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty’
President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused the majority of Jewish American voters of having "a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty" because they support Democrats.
While discussing Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) during a talk with reporters, the president said he couldn't imagine any Jewish American voting for the Democrats due to the congresswomen's comments about Israel.
"I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty," Trump said.
Conservative columnist blasts GOP as ‘partisan hacks for whom hypocrisy is second-nature’
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump once again ripped into The Squad, this time to undercut an emotional press conference in which Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MN) described the conditions her Palestinian relatives live under.
“Sorry, I don’t buy Rep. Tlaib’s tears. I have watched her violence, craziness and, most importantly, WORDS, for far too long,” the president tweeted. “Now tears? She hates Israel and all Jewish people. She is an anti-Semite. She and her 3 friends are the new face of the Democrat Party. Live with it!”
Sorry, I don’t buy Rep. Tlaib’s tears. I have watched her violence, craziness and, most importantly, WORDS, for far too long. Now tears? She hates Israel and all Jewish people. She is an anti-Semite. She and her 3 friends are the new face of the Democrat Party. Live with it!
Convicted Cardinal Pell’s fate hangs on appeal
An Australian court will rule on George Pell's appeal against child sex abuse charges Wednesday, when the convicted cardinal could walk free or begin a new round in his protracted legal fight.
Once the Vatican's third-ranking official, 78-year-old Pell was sentenced this year to six years in jail for sexually assaulting two 13-year-old choirboys at a Melbourne cathedral in the 1990s.
After more than two months of deliberations, a three-judge appeals panel will hand down their decision.
Pell is the most senior Catholic convicted of child sex abuse, making his case and Wednesday's ruling a touchstone moment for believers and victims groups around the world.