Virginia: Through The Looking Glass

skunk

macrumors G4
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Jun 29, 2002
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Republic of Ukistan
http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/news/state_regional/state_regional_govtpolitics/article/CUCCGAT05_20100305-182601/328592/
AG says public colleges can’t prohibit bias against gays

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says Virginia’s colleges and universities cannot prohibit discrimination against gays because the General Assembly has not authorized them to do so.
In a letter Thursday to the presidents, rectors and boards of visitors of Virginia public colleges, Cuccinelli said: the law and public policy 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.“
He said the recipients must consider the letter “as the opinion and advice” of the office of Attorney General.
And the recently elected Attorney General said those colleges or universities that have included sexual orientation in their policies acted without proper authority and those policies are invalid.
Tucker Martin, Gov. Bob McDonnell’s director of communications, noted that “the legal analysis . . . is consistent with all prior opinions from the Office of the Attorney General over the last 25 years on the subject.“
But Martin added: “The governor will appoint board members based solely on their ability and on their strong commitment to educational excellence in Virginia. The governor expects that no Virginia college or university, or any other state agency, will engage in discrimination of any kind.“
The official written employment policy for the office of the governor expressly forbids discrimination on any basis other than qualification and merit, he added.
Most of the state’s public universities have policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. Today they were exploring how to react to Cuccinelli’s letter.
“Our policy covers some things the attorney general says it can’t,“ said University of Mary Washington Rector Nanalou Sauder. She said the board and UMW administrators will need to discuss what action the university can take.
“We expect that there’s going to be significant reaction from the university community as they learn about it,“ said Virginia Commonwealth University spokeswoman Pam Lepley.
College of William and Mary spokesman Brian Whitson said the letter would need to be closely reviewed before the college can determine how to proceed.
“William and Mary has had a long tradition of inclusion and diversity,“ he said.
The University of Virginia had no comment. “The university received a letter—marked privileged and confidential—from the attorney general. Any questions about the letter will need to be addressed to the attorney general or his office,“ spokeswoman Carol Wood said in a statement.
Jon Blair, chief executive officer of Equality Virginia, criticized Cuccinelli’s opinion.
“Attorney General Cuccinelli clearly doesn’t understand that his radical actions are putting Virginia at risk of losing both top students and faculty, and discouraging prospective ones from coming here,“ he said.
Ashley Mitchell, youth programs coordinator for ROSMY, called the letter “a huge step backwards.“
Colleges and universities have done “a fantastic job” ensuring the rights of sexual minority youths and this will be a huge challenge for them, she said.
Cuccinelli said the General Assembly has defined protected classes on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth, age, marital status or disability, but “on numerous occasions considered and rejected creating a protected class on the basis of sexual orientation.​
This is very bizarre. What are Virginia's colleges supposed to do now? Introduce mandatory discrimination?
 

Queso

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Mar 4, 2006
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Just when you think you've heard it all. Lee, I'm beginning to think the only way forward for your country is for it to collapse and become part of Canada.
 

CaptMurdock

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Jan 2, 2009
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The Evildrome Boozerama
^I, for one, welcome our new Canadian overlords, eh?

Seriously, I do not see this surviving a legal challenge on Fourteenth Amendment grounds...of course, I've said this about bans on same-sex marriage.
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
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St. Louis, MO
Sadly, I'm not surprised. And I think that's the worst part of it, that in this day and age, I'm still not surprised when people do **** like this. We have not come very far as a nation. We need the military of the 1950s and the civil rights of the 2010s, not the other way around.

Just when you think you've heard it all. Lee, I'm beginning to think the only way forward for your country is for it to collapse and become part of Canada.
Can I request a Tim Hortons in my backyard? There's ample room.
 

Queso

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Mar 4, 2006
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A quick update on this story. Following public refusals to comply and declarations of disgust from the higher education establishments themselves, over a thousand students taking to the State's Senate House in protest, and the lobbying of business interests to consider moving from Virginia due to "concerns about the political climate" the AG has basically been told to keep his mouth shut. The Governor's Office has issued an Executive Directive stating that anti-gay discrimination is still prohibited under the State's law and that any employer who is found to discriminate could face fines.

Not quite the full protection under the law that other forms of discrimination in the state receive, but considering Virginia's Governor is Regent University alumni Bob McDonnell this is possibly as good as it's going to get in the short term.
 

Queso

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Mar 4, 2006
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Academics don't take kindly to being told what they can and cannot do on their own campus. Chuck in the taint of bigotry and this was the only response the AG could have expected, which makes it all the more bizarre that this was attempted in the first place.
 

184550

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May 8, 2008
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Cuccinelli said the General Assembly has defined protected classes on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth, age, marital status or disability, but “on numerous occasions considered and rejected creating a protected class on the basis of sexual orientation.
I can understand where the argument comes from. All of the above listed are very easily proven with the exception of religion. How would one prove that they are gay?

Having said that, I know most of you will flip out and ignore my point and call me a homophobe.
 

184550

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May 8, 2008
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I am simply asking why you are posting self-evident bollocks. That's reasonable, isn't it?
Yet if I pulled a stunt like this several people who have already posted in this thread would have torn my head off and have told me to stay on topic regardless of any technicalities.

Ah, double standards...
 

skunk

macrumors G4
Original poster
Jun 29, 2002
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Republic of Ukistan
Ah, double standards...
The point surely is that, as with all the other cited forms of discrimination, the "victim"'s actual characteristics do not need to be proved, only that any discrimination was based on a perception or presumption of such characteristics, whether accurate or not.
 

Gelfin

macrumors 68020
Sep 18, 2001
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I can understand where the argument comes from. All of the above listed are very easily proven with the exception of religion. How would one prove that they are gay?

Having said that, I know most of you will flip out and ignore my point and call me a homophobe.
Don't take it personally, but I am not so much ignoring your point as totally not seeing it. You mention understanding an argument, but the section you quote does not contain an argument. It's just an observation about the behavior of the General Assembly. You go on to say something about proving people are gay, but there is nothing about that in the section you quoted, or, unless I've overlooked it, in the entire original article.

I think you might be seeing something that is going to require some explanation for the rest of us to see what you're getting at.
 

leekohler

macrumors G5
Dec 22, 2004
14,162
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Chicago, Illinois
The point surely is that, as with all the other cited forms of discrimination, the "victim"'s actual characteristics do not need to be proved, only that any discrimination was based on a perception or presumption of such characteristics, whether accurate or not.
This. That's all that's needed.
 

184550

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May 8, 2008
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Don't take it personally, but I am not so much ignoring your point as totally not seeing it. You mention understanding an argument, but the section you quote does not contain an argument. It's just an observation about the behavior of the General Assembly. You go on to say something about proving people are gay, but there is nothing about that in the section you quoted, or, unless I've overlooked it, in the entire original article.

I think you might be seeing something that is going to require some explanation for the rest of us to see what you're getting at.
My understanding of the issue presented above is that the VA AG says that Gays cannot be a protected class in the VA higher education system because they lack any defineable characteristics needed to make them a protected class from discrimination. Take for example skin color. I can easily tell if someone is black or white.
 

leekohler

macrumors G5
Dec 22, 2004
14,162
19
Chicago, Illinois
My understanding of the issue presented above is that the VA AG says that Gays cannot be a protected class in the VA higher education system because they lack any defineable characteristics needed to make them a protected class from discrimination. Take for example skin color. I can easily tell if someone is black or white.
What tangible characteristic makes someone Jewish? Yet we still prohibit discrimination based on religion.