Late last week, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sent a letter to the state’s taxpayer funded colleges and universities informing them that, without General Assembly approval, they do not have the authority to issue non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation (see Washington Post). Apparently, the state’s public colleges and universities had issued such policies without the approval to do so (see Richmond Times-Dispatch). His opinion, initiated at the request of several interested parties, started a media firestorm. Essentially, the Attorney General, the office designated to instruct state entities on the law, told them to actually follow the law — Virginia law does not carve out discrimination protections for homosexuals, as it does for race, color, creed and national origin. But Democrat leaders and homosexual activists immediately pounced, calling Cuccinelli’s advice "hate," and vowed to revive legislation that died last week which would add sexual orientation to the Commonwealth’s anti-discrimination policy.
Today, several legislators literally screamed about the issue on the floor of the House of Delegates, all but accusing Attorney General Cuccinelli of hatred. They urged the House General Laws Committee to act on SB 66, which was defeated in sub-committee last week. However, committee chairman Delegate Chris Jones (R-76, Suffolk) cancelled the committee's last meeting. As today was the last day for committees to act on legislation in order for them to get to the floor before session ends, the issue is dead, again, for this year.
It is quite interesting to listen to proponents of this major change in Virginia’s public policy. In three separate presentations before committees and subcommittees, advocates for making sexual orientation a protected class have admitted that 90 percent of Virginians don’t think there should be discrimination. They have admitted that the last three governors have had policies, either written or verbal, that they will not allow such discrimination. At no point has any actual evidence of discrimination been presented. Late last year the Washington Post editorialized that there are "thousands of homosexuals" working in state government.
Usually, the General Assembly passes legislation to remedy a problem. They often defeat legislation that, as is said, is a "solution in search of a problem." That is exactly the problem with this legislation.
So what is the goal? It really is not about discrimination. It is about government recognition — acceptance — of the homosexual lifestyle. Make no mistake, this debate is a serious one and it will have long term consequences, not just for state government, but private businesses and, ultimately, our Marriage Amendment. The goal is not anti-discrimination — it is forced acceptance of a lifestyle that many Virginians find antithetical to their faith.
The rhetoric in the capitol today was heated and not very tolerant. It seems that those who oppose creating a special class for homosexuals are hateful and bigoted, which is an easy accusation to make when you have no other argument and no ability to make your case.