Saturday, January 11, 2014

Terry McAuliffe Bans Discrimination Against LGBT State Employees

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Saturday signed an executive order banning discrimination against LGBT state employees. (Photo by Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Remaining true to his word Terry McAuliffe made signing an Executive Oder banning discriminating against gays by state agencies and departments his first act after being sworn in as Governor of Virginia today.  While the action may be more symbolic than anything else in light of the Virginia Supreme Court's conduct in the case of Moore v. Virginia Museum of Natural History, McAuliffe's approach to gay rights and gay equality is 180 degrees opposite of that to now former Governor Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell.  The Washington Blade looks at McAuliffe making good on one of his port elections promises (I'm sure that gnashing of teeth and flying spittle were the order of the day at The Family Foundation, a Richmond based hate group affiliated with Family Research Council and Focus on the Anus Family):

RICHMOND, Va.—Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Saturday signed an executive order that bans discrimination against LGBT state employees.

“An open and welcoming state is critical to the 21st century economy, but it’s also imperative for justice and fairness,” said McAuliffe during his inaugural address he gave after officially taking office.

McAuliffe repeatedly promised during his campaign against then-Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli that the first executive order he would sign as governor is a ban on anti-LGBT discrimination against state employees. Former Gov. Bob McDonnell did not issue such a mandate, but U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner as governor banned discrimination against state employees based on their sexual orientation.

Julian Walker of the Virginian-Pilot reported gender identity and expression for the first time was included in the anti-discrimination order.

McAuliffe also publicly supports marriage rights for same-sex couples.

His inauguration took place against the backdrop of two federal lawsuits challenging Virginia’s constitutional amendment that bans gay nuptials.

It remains unclear whether the former Democratic National Committee chair and Attorney General Mark Herring will defend the ban that Virginia voters approved in 2006 by a 57-43 percent margin.

McAuliffe will face fierce opposition from the GOP controlled House of Delegates but it will be a refreshing change to have a governor who sees all Virginians, gay or straight, worthy of equality under the civil laws.

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