Saturday, March 06, 2010

Thoughts on Cuccinelli's Pro Gay Discrimination Stance

Via. The Daily Progress:

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sent a letter to Virginia’s public colleges and universities on Thursday that advises them to rescind their policies banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Cuccinelli, a Republican from Fairfax County, told the schools that only the General Assembly has the authority to establish legally protected classes of Virginians. The GOP-led House of Delegates has shot down legislation on numerous occasions that sought to add protections against discrimination for gays and lesbians.

Cuccinelli’s confidential letter, obtained Friday by The Daily Progress, says universities may not include “sexual orientation,” “gender identity” or “gender expression” in their nondiscrimination policies.

“I am aware that several Virginia colleges and universities have included ‘sexual orientation’ in their respective policies,” Cuccinelli wrote. “For the reasons stated, any college or university that has done so has acted without proper authority. Such invalid policies create, at a minimum, confusion about the law and, at worst, a litany of instances in which the school’s operation would need to change in order to come into conformance. Accordingly, I would advise the boards of each college to take appropriate actions to bring their policies in conformance with the law and public policy of Virginia.”

I don't think I'm being the least bit manipulative by saying Cuccinelli has a "Pro Gay Discrimination" stance. Some might be able to rationalize from the above that he is simply out to enforce the law, and from all accounts does appear to be correct that, "only the General Assembly has the authority to establish legally protected classes of Virginians" as opposed to the schools themselves. Why now (did he really just become aware that they were doing this?), though? Why this?

His answer: "
Such invalid policies create, at a minimum, confusion about the law and, at worst, a litany of instances in which the school’s operation would need to change in order to come into conformance."

That's right, creating confusion about the laws of the state, is a minimum concern for him in this case, meaning that he is not just doing this for mere reasons of enforcement and adherence like some might say coming to his defense; this is not just paperwork. Instead, he's made perfectly clear that his main concern, the worst case scenario is that,
"the school’s operation would need to change in order to come into conformance." I'm sorry if I'm beating people over the head with this, but I can't help but spell it out. He's saying that the worst thing that could happen if schools implement a non-discrimination of gays policy is that, uh, some people might have to not discriminate gays in conformance to said policy. If that's his priority of concern, that some people may be deprived of their administrative right to discriminate against homosexuals, then he is indisputably pro gay discrimination.

It also slays me that he says that the schools "would need to change" their operation to deal with such a policy of opposed to gay discrimination. Has he simply not hung out at a major state college for about the last six years. These policies have been established. They were present all the time I was at UVA and when my fiancee worked as a resident adviser at William and Mary she was also trained to handle cases of discrimination based on sexual orientation. The only change most school will have to face is the stripping of policies they have long self-enforced based on their own principles of human decency and equality so that they can conform to a general assembly that has repeatedly deprived them of the formal right to do so. Isn't this the kind of state interference Republicans are supposed to be, in principle, fundamentally against?

And let's not forget that by discrimination, we're talking particularly, but far from exclusively, about hiring discrimination. So again, a Republican--of the party that is supposed to be helping increase jobs--decided that in our current economic situation it was a good time to stir up an established policy (legal or not) of equality and decency, and by doing so potentially deprive a substantial demographic of job opportunities. Niiiice.

Finally, I cannot end this without addressing a major concern about language. Cuccinelli isn't just saying we should have discrimination against gays, or homosexuals (if the first term could be misconstrued somehow to leave out lesbians,) what he explicitly says according to the Daily Progress is that "
universities may not include 'sexual orientation,' 'gender identity' or 'gender expression' in their nondiscrimination policies" (quotations modified). By this token, he's purposely or inadvertently going after all the alphabet groups, and not just bisexuals and transgender individuals, he's leaving the entire discourse of gender politics to the wolves. Among students and teachers alike, unless harassment can be explicitly construed as sexual, it's up for grabs. Being butch, tomboy, effeminate, 'girly' ... it dosen't matter if you are heterosexual at the end of the day, there is virtually total freedom to discriminate any gendered expression of self according to this.

Great job.

1 Comments:

Blogger Cee(to tha)Jay said...

Indeed, your assertions are correct beyond a shadow of a doubt: the AG is personally implicated in this matter and the repercussions of his actions will undoubtedly leave the floor open for all sorts of civil right atrocities. I am simply blown away by this, but I do not intend to stand idly by and allow this to occur without action on my part and I encourage everyone else to be active as well.

9:11 PM  

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