Virginia’s new Republican Governor Bob McDonnell has spoken out against his attorney general’s claim that the state’s schools have no right to ban anti-gay discrimination, as the firestorm surrounding the governor’s first executive order continues.
The controversy first emerged when McDonnell, who was sworn in in January, signed his first executive order that, unlike those issued by two previous governors, did not include specific protections for gay state workers.
Soon thereafter, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, also a Republican, sent a letter to public colleges in which he stated that they had no right to impose their own bans as only state legislature can extend such protections, according to The Christian Science Monitor.
The ensuing uproar has led McDonnell to backtrack on his own order and on Cuccinelli’s interpretation by announcing an extension of protections to homosexuals, citing their constitutional rights.
“The Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution prohibits discrimination without a rational basis against any class of persons [including] based on factors such as one’s sexual orientation,” he wrote, quoted by Falls Church News-Press.
Therefore, “discrimination against any class of persons without a rational basis is prohibited,” he added.
In the meantime, there have been individual acts of defiance across the state, including the City of Falls Church School Board, that voted to add language to its anti-discrimination policy to protect lesbians and gays at its most recent meeting on Tuesday night, the news provider further reported.