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Popular Topics in The Arts
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Topics In the News
Virginia's Governor-Elect McAuliffe to Issue Executive Order Banning Discrimination
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 11/07/13
Last updated on: 11/07/13
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Terry McAuliffe.

Fresh from a bitter election battle against anti-gay Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, victorious Democrat Terry McAuliffe said in a press conference on November 6, 2013 that his very first action as governor of Virginia will be to issue an executive order banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in state employment.

McAuliffe's commitment to fair and equal treatment for glbtq employees stands in sharp contrast to the actions of his predecessor Bob McDonnell and to Cuccinelli.

The very first action that McDonnell took as governor was to rescind the executive order that had been issued by former governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Following in the footsteps of Bobby Jindahl, whose first action upon assuming the governorship of Louisiana was rescinding the nondiscrimination order of his predecessor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, McDonnell signaled his allegiance to the evangelical wing of the Republican Party.

[Tellingly, at his news conference Governor-elect McAuliffe also said that his second executive order would limit the value of any gifts to himself or immediate family to $100, a reaction to the corruption scandal that has consumed McDonnell, whose family received more than $160,000 in "gifts" from a businessman seeking goverment contracts and grants.]

Cuccinelli became most famous for his attempt to reinstate Virginia's sodomy law despite its having been held unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in 2003, but before he embarked on that fool's errand, he crusaded against nondiscrimination statutes and policies that covered sexual orientation and gender identity. Cuccinelli's efforts to roll back protections for glbtq people in Virginia's public universities were rebuffed, but he was successful in preventing municipalities from enacting protections against discrimination.

At his news conference, McAuliffe said, "I will make sure that every single individual in the Commonwealth of Virginia is treated fair and equal."

Marty Rouse, Human Rights Campaign's National Field Director, said, "In his first day as Governor-elect, Terry McAuliffe has declared a new day for LGBT equality in the Commonwealth of Virginia."

He added, "Inclusion and equality won in yesterday's election, while the politics of hate and discrimination were soundly defeated. We look forward to working with the governor-elect on moving Virginia forward."

The electoral rebuke of Cuccinelli is tangible proof that change is going to come.

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