We pointed it out here in the context of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors action adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the County’s employment nondiscrimination policy, but in light of the ruling that found Prop 8 unconstitutional, it’s even more striking:
“The Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution prohibits discrimination without a rational basis against any class of persons. Discrimination based on factors such as one’s sexual orientation or parental status violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.”
These words were issued by Governor Bob McDonnell in an executive directive in March, an effort to put out the fire started by his intemperate, activist Attorney General. AG Cuccinelli, you’ll recall, insists that the law and public policy of Virginia requires the freedom to discriminate against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation, and that such discrimination cannot be prohibited. Kimball Payne of The Daily Press finds these words oddly similar to the language in Judge Vaughn Walker’s Prop 8 ruling – probably not the effect the governor was aiming for.
McDonnell’s office opted not to weigh in on the similarities on Friday.
Indeed. What more is there to say about this? McDonnell and Walker are both right.
Payne did predict that if push comes to shove, the governor “would almost certainly say that the executive directive was designed to tackle workplace discrimination and nothing more.” However, I’m sure that even a Regent University law degree equipped him with an understanding that the scope of the Equal Protection Clause is not limited to workplace discrimination. And even if we were to accept that narrow focus, I find myself moved to ask this question again: If he understands what the Equal Protection Clause requires, why did he not use the influence of his office to ensure passage of a legislative correction before the end of the 2010 session? And what is he going to do about Virginia’s compliance problem now?
My, what interesting times.