Bob McDonnell is a right wing social ideologue who is trying to white wash his socially conservative past so that he can be the great GOP hope for 2012. In February, the mask slipped.
Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell has signed an executive order barring discrimination in the state workforce on grounds that include race, sex, religion and age, but not sexual orientation.
The order, which McDonnell (R) signed Feb. 5, cements federal law, which prohibits discrimination on those grounds.
It also follows McDonnell’s long-standing position on the issue of legal protections based on sexual orientation. McDonnell had criticized his two Democratic predecessors for including language about it in their similar executive orders, arguing they overstepped their executive authority by extending protections to gay employees not envisioned by the General Assembly.
Virginia’s Attorney General was loving this and immediately ordered all the Virginia colleges and universities to change their anti-discrimination policies. Students across the state protested. McDonnell signed an Executive Directive recommending that state agencies do recognize the existence of sexual orientation based discrimination.
McDonnell’s directive comes a week after Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) distributed a letter to the state’s public colleges and universities asking them to remove references to sexual orientation from their campus nondiscrimination policies. Cuccinelli says that only the General Assembly has the authority to extend legal protections to gays.
Marc Ambinder thinks its important to appreciate that a Governor understands that discrimination is real and that protected classes matter.
On the other hand, it does say something that the very conservative Republican governor of Virginia understands that it does not look good to be seen as endorsing discrimination against gays.
The something it says is that the real McDonnell thought it looked good endorsing discrimination against gays in the Commonwealth of Virginia until he was called on it. Virginia progressive voters and Civil Rights advocates would be wise to watch McDonnell for when his moderate mask slips.