Every General Assembly session sees legislation introduced that would elevate sexual behavior to a protected class, and in particular, bills that would add sexual orientation/gender identity (SOGI) to the state’s “non-discrimination” in hiring law. And every year, representatives from the various state and private colleges and universities line up and claim that the lack of this addition “sends the wrong message” to potential university employees and is preventing Virginia from attracting the best and brightest. Never mind that our colleges and universities continue to be ranked as some of the best in the country, indicating that there’s plenty of talent that has overcome this “wrong message” and seem to be doing quite nicely.
So, earlier this week when three college presidents spoke at the House Education Committee Summit at UVa in Charlottesville, each one had the opportunity to tell the Education Committee the pressing problems they face and what urgent and important needs they have.
And not one of them mentioned “expanding gay rights.” Not one.
In fact, one told the story of attracting a professor from a “Midwestern university” who was pleasantly surprised at just how welcoming and tolerant Virginia turned out to be. In other words, reality didn’t match the rhetoric used by those who divide us.
Which should come as a surprise to no one. Virginians are welcoming and tolerant and all the other warm and fuzzy adjectives that the culture loves to throw around. And we don’t need a new law to be so.
Of course, there’s little doubt that representatives from some of those same universities will once again line up during session and make their claim that expanding SOGI “rights” is necessary for Virginia to compete, but after this week, it appears that it isn’t nearly as important to them as they would have you believe.