Virginia AG Wants Anti-Discrimination Policies Removed

Ken_Cuccinelli Virginian Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has written a letter to all of the state's public colleges encouraging them to abolish policies that prohibit discrimination of gays and lesbians. 

"It is my advice that the law and public policy of the Commonwealth of
Virginia prohibit a college or university from including 'sexual
orientation,' 'gender identity,' 'gender expression,' or like
classification as a protected class within its non-discrimination
policy absent specific authorization from the General Assembly."

Carl Pucci, student body president at Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virginia, had this rational reaction to Cuccinelli's letter:

"It's going to be a mess. There's no doubt about that. Our
generation is really open-minded. The concept of discrimination, we're
just not interested in that … I think you're going to see the whole
gamut, from angry letters to protests."


  1. says

    I would like to see a pull out of Virgina movement. Use economics against the Attorney General.

    Basically make advertisements asking people not to visit Virgina or base their businesses there.

    Free market!

  2. Aaron says

    I’m not sure where exactly you have to exist to think that the younger generation is not into discrimination against gays and lesbians. Perhaps NYC? Personally, I think a college/university/business should get to pick and chose who they want to admit and who they want to hire. Simply forcing an entity to “accept” someone they have no interest in does nothing for the person being “accepted.” If half these “PC” people would just admit their true feelings we would have a much more narrow road, but at least we would know which direction we were going.

  3. Boone68 says

    So, Aaron, if UVA decides they don’t want blacks working there anymore, you’d consider that their right to “pick and choose who they want to hire”?! It’s not about being “PC” as you suggest. It’s about right and wrong and common decency. Discrimination is not OK. EVER.

  4. JT says

    @boone68 Discrimination based upon traits an individual has no control over should not be okay. Discrimination does have its place though. In the case of hiring, discrimination along talents/abilities and their history of past performance. I doubt you’d disagree and this is simply a clarification of semantics.

  5. Mike says

    Why am I not surprised? Again, it’s still “debatable” as to whether or not it’s socially acceptable to discriminate against gay people. Hopefully, the judge in California will rule in the Marriage lawsuit that Prop 8 violates the 14th amendment, and it is subsequently upheld by the SCOTUS. That is the only way we are going to put an end to this nonsense in the next decade.

  6. walter says

    first off where does the state ag get off telling private universities what they can and not do. thus the term private. remember when va advertises that is for lovers , only straights remember that when you travel.time to hit all the bigots where it hurts the pocket book

  7. Nick says

    It clearly says in the first paragraph of the story that the Attorney General’s letter was written to all of the state’s PUBLIC colleges. Not private colleges.

  8. Dave says

    The opinion is *advisory* not binding. It’s also quite specious; he cites recurring AG’s advisory statements, but no actual law.

    So until the General Assembly or the Courts weigh in and dictate that the set of protected classes cannot be expanded by other public agencies, the colleges can safely ignore his opinion.

  9. Brian says

    I don’t know if this is the case, but the timing of it makes it sound like a reaction to the Maryland AG’s decision on recognizing marriages. VA and MD are going in opposite directions.

  10. Sean says

    Maryland welcomes any businesses considering relocating their offices from Virginia (hint Northrup Grumman). The Virgina AG needs to learn that discrimination is bad for business.

  11. ichabod says

    Once “The Birthplace of Presidents”, Virginia is now just a complete and total embarrassment…

  12. coolbearinmd says

    I just want to mention that some Internet circulation of the story is getting a couple of points wrong. As the TowleRoad report emphasizes, the AG has “encouraged” or “advised” the public universities (not private ones) to fall into line with stated public policy. He cannot “order” them to do so, as some reports are saying. He knows very well that it’s very unclear whether he has any authority to do anything more, and the Governor would freak out if he tried to.

    In this respect, this is another instance of what right-wingers almost always do: making political capital out of appearing to adhere to a principle supportive of “conventional” morality, while staying well away from actually doing anything, because they know very well that the public wouldn’t support it. People don’t actually want abortion rights curtail, they just vote for people who say they want to “protect life.” They don’t even want their gay neighbors to suffer in ways they have to confront in real life; they just want to hear some gasbag “protect the sanctity of marriage.” Basically, he’s just furious that the AG of Maryland made headlines by recognizing out-of-state gay marriages, and like the huge drama queen he is, had to manufacture a headline of his own. Even some conservatives are saying it makes him look stupid.

    Second, although Cuccinelli is a serious asshole who basically ran on a gay-marriage-is-going-to-eat-your-kids program, he is just the Attorney General. He’s probably right in saying that the boards of public universities are technically violating directives from the state legislature, which has repeatedly postured about rejecting any attempt to see that gay people and gay partnerships are not subject to discrimination. Not the attorney general but the people of Virginia have created this situation by repeatedly turning out to vote cynical, manipulative politicians into office, and allowing their hysteria over gay marriage to outweigh all other reasonable political calculations. The only response that has really worked has been to demonstrate the economic advantages of non-discrimination and perils of discrimination. That’s why the first commenter is absolutely right: Virginians are going to try to make this about the nutjob in the AG’s office, but it’s not. Americans need to treat states like Virginia the way they treated South Africa. It worked.

    By the way, I grew up in Virginia and moved to Maryland as soon as I could.

  13. MRW says

    Aaron–Since the public universities of Virginia are financed (to a very limited degree) by all the taxpayers of Virginia, it hardly seems appropriate to set their admissions and hiring practices based on the AG’s personal religious views. Furthermore, if he is calling for the universities to repeal their non-discrimination statements he is clearly trying to make it so they can’t “pick and choose who they want to admit and who they want to hire.”

  14. TANK says

    Antidiscrimination policies….the bigoted AG desires that antidiscrimination policies be removed from public universities. Words: they’re so important…

    Virginny is full of backward hicks, and west virginny is even worse. This douchebag’s running for governor, and apparently the residents of this hell eat it up.

  15. says

    If they did try to make it mandatory that the colleges & universities drop sexual orientation from their nondiscrimination statements, wouldn’t that come into conflict with Romer v Evans? Wouldn’t it in effect single out gay & lesbian students/employees to deprive them of protections?

    Surely the new governor (with his degree from Regent and thesis on family values) approves. According to my stepmother, who is an atty now living in VA, the AG has a good bit of free rein in VA to do this kind of thing and can actually do more damage to rights than the governor, long-term.

  16. Joe says

    When will these law makers get it through their heads that more inclusive and non-discriminatory policies are better for business? Businesses that are knowledge based want to set up where creative, educated and progressive people live. They don’t even consider places that discriminate like this! This is very stereotypical but ever noticed how the gays can transform a neighborhood and create greater land values and bring a greater sense of community? Where the creative class (gays, artists, architects, planners, IT, Design, etc.) thrives so too does business! What’s good for us gays is good for business.

  17. says

    “I’m not sure where exactly you have to exist to think that the younger generation is not into discrimination against gays and lesbians. Perhaps NYC? Personally, I think a college/university/business should get to pick and chose who they want to admit and who they want to hire.”

    Aaron, all statistics show that a majority of young people in fact oppose discrimination against LGBT people, and that is particularly true on university campuses (aside from religious ones) and in academia. That’s why they have non-discrimination policies to begin with. Why would universities want to abolish policies they obviously support? To show an anti-gay activist AG that he has the power to tell them what to do? Unlikely. This will be met with appropriate resistance. Universities want to pick and choose who they admit and hire, but for most of them that includes rather than excludes gay people. Your mindset is last century.

  18. TribePride says

    My newspaper at the College of William & Mary wrote an article about this. Our school will not tolerate anything of this sort, we just elected a transgender homecoming queen. Won’t have to worry about this in Williamsburg.

  19. John says


    It could go either way.

    I am sure Virginia will argue that Romer doesn’t apply because public universities are not a “local government.” Romer was about whether the state had the authority to prohibit local government – incorporated cities and towns – from enacting ordinances that are traditionally within their rights to enact.

    The court ruled that the state cannot pre-emptively impede a local government’s ability to protect a class of persons (gays and lesbians) from fundamental rights already enjoyed by all other citizens under the federal constitution. The decision implies that cities are not merely administrative divisions of the state. They are a separate level of government that is subordinate to the state in most – but not all – matters because they have some “reserved” powers. Just as the states themselves are subordinate to the federal government in most – but not all – matters because they have some “reserved” powers.

    For instance, David Paterson and the state legislature in Albany cannot suspend the elected local government of New York City just because they don’t like Michael Bloomberg. That would be challenged in court immediately. And the state would probably lose. However, they can remove the regents of the state university system at their pleasure. Legally speaking, universities are not a local government.

  20. NT says

    I wonder if the post by “Aaron” isn’t fake/insincere/disingenuous, and authored by a ‘phobe.

  21. NT says

    PS – I do think this stuff will backfire. Cuccinelli is choosing the wrong demographic — educated people, and young people — to try this vile garbage with.

    I expect there will be protests, of many different kinds, at all public universities in Virginia. It’s not going to make Cuccinelli look good, and the boycotts are not going to make the business community happy.

  22. Dartainian says

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but as one of the State of Virginia’s top cops, doesn’t the AG take an oath to uphold the law? Or do Virginians just look the other way when it comes to discrimination? I’m sure this AG doesn’t see much more than the inside of his large colon!

  23. Hollywood, CA says

    @ AARON – “I think a college/university/business should get to pick and chose who they want to admit and who they want to hire.” – Maybe you should be judged on your academics rather than your sexual orientation. And, if any of the institutions get TAX DOLLARS, then they can’t discriminate against people who supply those TAX DOLLARS.

  24. Hollywood, CA says

    You can contact this Hate Monger directly, and let him know what you think about trying to create a hostile environment for our gay youth and school administrators/faculty –
    Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II
    Attorney General900 East Main Street
    Richmond, Virginia 23219

  25. Jumper says

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  26. seany says

    So, which is it? There are far too many negatives in the first two sentences,,,is he pro-gay or anti-gay? Who wrote this? Me brain hurt.