Equality Virginia board member Jay Gandy has a guest editorial on Bacon’s Rebellion.
Nondiscrimination in the state workforce should extend to sexual orientation. The only criteria that should affect employees’ work status should be professional performance.
Attitudes toward gay people are changing fast – nationally and in Virginia. A new nationwide Pew poll shows that the percentage of Americans opposed to allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally dropped dramatically from 63 percent to 51 percent in just two years (Feb. 2004 to March 2006).
In Virginia, the most recent and relevant data (July 2005) shows that while a majority favors limiting marriage, 59 percent favor civil unions or some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples, avenues that would be prohibited permanently by the proposed constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot this fall.
Perhaps surprising to many, 87 percent of Virginians (and 80 percent of Republicans) say gays have the right to be protected from anti-gay workplace discrimination.
There is every reason to expect that opinions and attitudes will continue in the direction of social acceptance for gay people and their families. I write from the perspective of a gay man in a long-term domestic relationship and as a (now retired) research psychologist who worked over 30 years in federal, state, and local government employment settings toward creating more effective organizations.