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No discrimination against gays, governor says

While standing by his contention that he lacks the authority to ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation as a matter of overall state policy, Gov. Bob McDonnell made it clear this afternoon that he will not tolerate such discrimination in the state’s executive branch.

“Discrimination based on factors such as one’s sexual orientation or parental status violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United State Constitution,” he said in Exeutive Directive 1.

“Therefore discrimination against enumerated classes of persons set forth in the Virginia Human Rights Act or discrimination against any class of persons without a rational basis is prohibited.”

The second clause is important because sexual orientation is not a status protected from discrimination in the Human Rights Act.

“I hereby direct that the hiring, promotion, compensation treatment, discipline, and termination of state employees shall be based on an individual’s job qualifications, merit and performance…,” he said.

“Civility, fair treatment, and mutual respect shall be the standard of conduct expected in state government.”

By Alan Cooper

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