Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple Says "Nothing has changed" After McDonnell's Directive

There has been a lot of discussion about how Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli have not only refused to legally prevent discrimination in the state workforce and on college campuses, but have actually made it a point not to. After the public expressed outrage over their actions, McDonnell finally felt like he had to do something that made it look like he wasn't allowing discrimination to take place. Unfortunately, he did so in the form of an "Executive Directive" which isn't legally binding and is simply symbolic. When you consider that his Attorney General has been working hard to make create situations in which public institutions would be able to discriminate against people based solely on their sexual orientation, a symbolic move is not enough. After all, those legal protections would simply be returning Virginia back to the legal protections that had previously been in place for almost a decade.

In an email she sent earlier today, Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple went after the executive branch and pointed out that "nothing has changed" as result of McDonnell's directive. We therefore still need to work hard to make sure discrimination cannot take place on college campuses or in the state workforce.
If you’ve seen any news out of Richmond lately you’ve probably read about Virginia’s non-discrimination policy towards gay state workers and college students. Eight weeks ago I never would have expected this topic to garner so much publicity so I want to take just a minute to discuss what has happened.

The Democratic-led Senate is the only body in Richmond to have passed legal protections for Virginia’s gay state workers. Senate Democrats voted unanimously to pass SB66 which would have given gay Virginians the same legal protections from workplace discrimination that every other state worker receives.

The Republican-led House of Delegates killed our bill while Governor Bob McDonnell sat silently and Attorney General Cuccinelli urged colleges to weaken their anti-discrimination policies. After these actions received national attention Governor McDonald signed a symbolic “Executive Directive” outlining his position against discrimination.

What you should take away from all these reports is this: Nothing has changed. Gay state workers and students still do not have the same rights as everyone else under the law and the Senate Democrats are the only entity in Richmond to have done something about it.

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