Mar 072010

The state of Virginia needs to wake up and smell the equal-rights coffee.

Public colleges in the state of Virginia will have to remove policies banning discrimination based on sexual orientation at their schools, according to the state’s attorney general.

Kenneth Cuccinelli, Virginia’s attorney general, sent a letter to public colleges last week advising colleges to remove the policy, saying that only the General Assembly has the power to make that policy.

While Virginia state law prohibits discrimination against race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status and disability. It does not protect sexual orientation.

The Virginia state legislature has turned down legislation attempting to afford rights to the GLBT community on too many occasions. A House subcommittee last week killed a Senate bill that would have banned discrimination against sexual orientation for state employees.

It’s time for the state of Virginia to step in line with other states that have made the move to add sexual orientation to their nondiscrimination laws.

Removing the policy would be a bad move for Virginia’s colleges. If the schools do not afford this protection, they could be discouraging a number of students and faculty from applying to their institutions. And in the end, it will end up hurting the state.

In 2007, Colorado added sexual orientation to the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, making it the 20th state to do so.

While public institutions have to follow state law, colleges should be able to enact policies affording students and faculty more rights, not take them away.

 Posted by at 1:42 pm

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