campus life

McDonnell + Cuccinelli Agree Discrimination Is Unconstitional. So Why Isn’t This College Matter Settled?

Maybe Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II is just misunderstood. It’s not that he wants homosexuals at state colleges to be stripped of their discrimination protections. It’s that in order to offer those protections, these institutions of higher education need the okay from state lawmakers first — the same state lawmakers who year-after-year refuse to add sexual orientation to the state’s list of protected classes.

When Cuccinelli (pictured) issued his letter to state university administrators, he was merely giving his “legal advice.” And he’s standing behind it: “What I said in my March 4 letter was accurate advice under Virginia law, and it still stands. [The schools] don’t have any more authority than the General Assembly gives them, which is a similar position as the localities. And until the General Assembly gives them more authority, they’re quarantined by what they’ve got.”

So there are two possibilities here: Cuccinelli is correct, and the General Assembly needs to add protections in order for colleges to issue them in accordance with the law; or he is wrong, and colleges are free to protect LGBT employees as they see fit, the same way they are free to let student groups protest in the quad and Spanish 101 classes convene. Either way, perhaps this is a teaching moment: The Assembly needs to add LGBT protections to the state books, so these issues never come up again, and Virginians are protected on all fronts.

And with Gov. Bob McDonnell issuing his own directive that contradicts Cuccinelli, surely we can count on the Republican governor to lead the fight?

Most notable, however, is that Cuccinelli agrees with McDonnell’s conclusion that LGBT discrimination is unconstitutional. And we’re no legal experts here, but if something is unconstitutional, isn’t a university — and any government body — automatically barred from doing it?