The Attorney General of Virginia has sent a letter to the state’s public colleges and universities opining that the addition of “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” to their nondiscrimination policies is invalid and advising them to “take appropriate actions” to bring their policies in line with his interpretation of state law. According to the Attorney General, only the state legislature can extend nondiscrimination protections to cover sexual orientation and gender identity, which it has persistently refused to do. (The Washington Post story is here.)
Among the reactions to this news on the Post’s “Virginia Politics” blog was one from a representative of the Family Foundation who doubted that “that this would be the final straw in whether or not someone’s going to come to Virginia’s universities.” He continued, “They are some of the best universities in the country. I think they can stand on their own without this policy.” Yeah, right. And that would be because there are no other colleges and universities in the country that Virginia schools compete with for students, faculty, and staff and that do offer such protections and thus a more welcoming environment for LGBT individuals? Way to shoot yourself in the foot in the middle of the race to compete for the best and the brightest.