Post submitted by Paul Guequierre, HRC Deputy Communications Director
Signaling a new day for LGBT equality in Virginia, Democrat Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe said in his first press conference that his first executive order will be to ban discrimination against LGBT state employees. Last night McAuliffe defeated vehemently anti-LGBT Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia governor’s race. Former governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine both issued executive orders prohibiting discrimination in state employment on a number of bases including sexual orientation. Governor McDonnell rescinded the order and issued a generic order, theoretically covering all public employees. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sent a letter to the public universities telling them they could not offer more protections than those enumerated under state law. Today McAuliffe said, “I will make sure that every single individual in the Commonwealth of Virginia is treated fair and equal.”
“In his first day as Governor-elect, Terry McAuliffe has declared a new day for LGBT equality in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. “Inclusion and equality won in yesterday’s election, while the politics of hate and discrimination were soundly defeated. We look forward to working with the governor-elect on moving Virginia forward.”
HRC endorsed Terry McAuliffe for Governor earlier this year. As the campaign heated up, HRC activated our thousands of members and supporters across the state, and logged countless phone calls and canvass hours for the many Virginia candidates supportive of equality. Click here for more information on HRC’s election work in Virginia.
During his tenure as Virginia’s Attorney General, Cuccinelli urged public universities to roll back non-discrimination policies and conflated marriage equality and polygamy. He has called being gay “intrinsically wrong,” and argued that it brings about “nothing but self-destruction.”