CREDIT: AP Images/Patrick Semansky
On Saturday, Terry McAuliffe (D) was inaugurated as the new governor of Virginia, and after expressing his support for the gay community in his speech, his very first action was to protect LGBT workers from discrimination.
Echoing sentiments from President Obama’s second inaugural speech, McAuliffe specifically recognized the need to end discrimination against people based on who they love:
My administration will work tirelessly to ensure that those opportunities are equal for all of Virginia’s children – no matter if you’re a girl or a boy, no matter what part of the Commonwealth you live in, no matter your race or religion, and no matter whom you love.
There is still work to do to. We must work to ensure that the children of new immigrants to Virginia have equal educational opportunities. To ensure that someone can’t lose a job simply because they are gay. And to ensure that every woman has the right to make her own personal health care decisions.
McAuliffe’s first action — Executive Order Number 1 — was to protect LGBT state employees from from employment discrimination. Notably, the order adds gender identity to the protected classes in addition to sexual orientation, marking the first time that transgender people will be explicitly protected. Former governors (and current U.S. Senators) Mark Warner (D) and Tim Kaine (D) both included only sexual orientation in their administrations, but Bob McDonnell (R) issued a nondiscrimination order omitting it — adding it only later through a less potent directive.