Yesterday, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell — who recently issued an Executive Directive 1 stating that discrimination “based on factors such as one’s sexual orientation or parental status” will not be tolerated — said that gays and lesbians do not need protections against workplace discrimination because “there isn’t really any rampant discrimination on any basis in Virginia.” The state discriminates only “based on merit and ability and getting results” in hiring decisions, McDonnell told WRVA’s Ask the Governor program, adding that he would probably not sign a law that included protections for gays and lesbians:
MCDONNELL: First of all, I don’t know if we need it. Based on the numbers I’ve seen, there isn’t really any rampant discrimination on any basis in Virginia…the question is, is that really need? As I said, this is going to be an administration, like previous administrations that isn’t going to discriminate. So, if you’re going to have a law, it needs to actually address a real problem and you know, I would have to look at that when it gets to me.
McDonnell’s categorical denial of discrimination in state hiring practices would surprise some in his very own government. On March 31st, the Supreme Court of Virginia will hold oral arguments on the case of Michael Moore v. Virginia Museum of Natural History, in which Moore is claiming that he was fired from his job at the museum for being gay.
Over at the Bilerico Project, Moore’s attorney Michael Hamar writes, “It is hard to tell what the Virginia Supreme Court will rule in the matter. If the Court adopts the Attorney General’s arguments in the case, it will confirm that McDonnell’s Executive Directive 1 (2010) is a meaningless political stunt. If the Court accepts the arguments in the briefs submitted on behalf of Moore, employment discrimination – at least when involving state agencies and departments – based upon sexual orientation/religious belief will be struck down as illegal under the U.S. Constitution.”