Virginia attorney general instructs state colleges to stop protecting gay students from discrimination.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli

Just weeks after Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) refused to renew an executive order that would have protected gay and lesbian state workers from discrimination, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is asking the state’s colleges and universities “to rescind policies that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.” Cuccinelli — who has previously argued “homosexual acts are…intrinsically wrong” — wrote a letter to all of the state’s public colleges and universities:

“It is my advice that the law and public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia prohibit a college or university from including ‘sexual orientation,’ ‘gender identity,’ ‘gender expression,’ or like classification as a protected class within its non-discrimination policy absent specific authorization from the General Assembly,” he wrote. Colleges that have included such language in their policies — which include all of Virginia’s leading schools — have done so “without proper authority” and should “take appropriate actions to bring their policies in conformance with the law and public policy of Virginia,” Cuccinelli wrote.

Most colleges protect gays from anti-discrimination and violence. Earlier this month, students at John Carroll University, a Jesuit college in Cleveland Ohio, staged a sit-in to protest “the university’s decisions not to include the protection of sexual orientation of in its anti-discrimination statement.” Other Jesuit universities, like “Canisius College, College of the Holy Cross, Georgetown University, Gonzaga University, Le Moyne College, and St. Louis University” all include “sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination policies.” The blogger Joe.My.God. writes, “Virginia is going to have a VERY hard time attracting top students and faculty after this, not to mention the inevitable backlash against people or companies willing to work with the Virginia higher education system.”