An editorial in the Washington Post slams Virginia's anti-gay Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for demanding the Commonwealth's public colleges and universities abolish policies that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity: "Translation: Discrimination is alive, well and now encouraged in the Commonwealth of Virginia."
Mr. Cuccinelli is not the first attorney general to articulate the limits of Virginia anti-discrimination laws. His predecessors for the past 25 years have come to a similar conclusion concerning cities and counties that wished to extend protections to gay and lesbian residents. But colleges and universities traditionally have been given broad leeway to set policy. These schools have been havens for inclusive policies that often go hand-in-hand with academic freedom. It's sad and telling that as one of his earliest acts in office, the attorney general would actively reach out to enable discrimination. His opinion would, in the words of a former governor and current senator, Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), "hurt the ability of our colleges and universities to attract the very best faculty, staff and students and [would] damage the Commonwealth's reputation for academic excellence and diversity."
Mr. Cuccinelli is certainly right about one thing: The Virginia legislature has failed -- disgracefully, in our view -- to guarantee protections to gay and lesbian residents of the state. If legislators did their jobs, the attorney general's well-known views on the evils of homosexuality would become quaint artifacts instead of the arbiter of policy for what has been, until now, a first-class system of higher education.
Last night and for the second time in one week, the Republican-controlled House of Delegates, rejected legislation that would have banned job discrimination against gay state employees.
In related news: The president of The College of William & Mary says his institution will not rescind its anti-discrimination policies, reports Pam's House Blend. In a message sent to the university community, President Taylor Reveley wrote: "William & Mary neither discriminates against people nor tolerates discrimination on our campus. ... We certainly do not discriminate against people on such grounds, or tolerate discrimination against them. This is the way we live our lives together at William & Mary, because we believe this is the way we should live our lives together. This is not going to change."