Yesterday, Governor McAuliffe issued an Executive Order declaring that the state government would no longer contract for goods or services with anyone unless they sign a form stating that they will not “discriminate” based upon “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.”

In essence, the Governor is saying that you can't do business with the state unless you allow men into women's bathrooms and fully embrace the administration’s view that there are no distinctions between male and female, as well as its definition of marriage. This affects hundreds of entities that provide goods and services to or on behalf of the state, including many churches, charities, and other faith-based institutions.

This unconstitutional act of intimidation and bullying of businesses and charities that are operated by people of faith, from Christians to Jews to Muslims, is not only unnecessary but dangerous. There is no evidence of discrimination in Virginia by any businesses or charities that work with the state, and this executive order could require the state to investigate the personal, private beliefs of business owners, an action that should frighten anyone who believes in protecting civil liberties.

Sadly, this action was predictable as Governor McAuliffe and Attorney General Herring are far more interested in divisive politics and appeasing their base in a crucial election year than they are in providing real economic leadership.  Instead of providing real economic leadership, they are advocating government discrimination against people of faith, Christians, Jews and Muslims, simply because they disagree with their beliefs. 

It is also in direct violation of the Virginia Constitution, which states that “...the right to be free from any governmental discrimination upon the basis of religious conviction...shall not be abridged."  Virginians should be free to earn a living, care for the poor, help the sick and serve their communities in accordance with their faith without being attacked and discriminated against by state government.  

Virginians should be appalled by this act of blatant religious bigotry. As Virginia continues to slide further down on the list of states in which it’s best to do business, the Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General have no real solutions other than pandering to their base.

But rest assured, we intend to fight this unlawful order by every available means. With the stroke of a pen, the Governor just “upped the ante” on religious liberty in our Commonwealth, and he cannot be allowed to get away with it.   

You can read more about this story here and here.