Now this is what civil disobedience is meant for…

3 minute read

March 9, 2010, 7:21 PM

I read an article on The Washington Post‘s site on my lunch hour at work today, where Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has urged Virginia state colleges to rescind policies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Basically, Cuccinelli contends that the colleges have no legal right to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, and that only the General Assembly can ban such discrimination. According to the article, the General Assembly has declined to make that move numerous times, including this week.

I took a few things from this. First of all, Virginia apparently got the administration that it deserved. They voted for these knuckleheads, and they got exactly what they deserved – people who want to take Virginia a few decades backwards on social issues. Bob McDonnell certainly got high points from me during Virginia’s gubernatorial race last year for the privatize-the-liquor-stores bit, and the reopening-the-rest-areas bit. And Creigh Deeds was certainly a weak candidate. But considering that McDonnell wants to cut spending on public education and the attorney general wants to roll back protections for gays and lesbians has me really annoyed. We don’t want Virginia to turn into a state as backwards as South Carolina, where a state lawmaker actually introduced legislation to ban paper currency. I like to say that Virginia can produce an educated citizenry. However, if you can’t pay your professors…

Additionally, this is what civil disobedience is meant for. I’ve thought for a while that a lot of the civil disobedience that happens at protests and such is just for show. I don’t quite see how sitting in the street until you’re arrested (in a pre-arranged arrest, no less) and things of that nature get much accomplished. However, these state colleges should respectfully tell Ken Cuccinelli to go shove it, and that they will continue to maintain their non-discrimination policies that protect people based on sexual orientation regardless. After all, the heart of civil disobedience is in protesting an unjust law by blatantly disobeying it.

Then the McDonnell administration can run with it from there. They certainly have options. They could replace the colleges’ boards of visitors (as these bodies are appointed by the governor), which might possibly have a trickle-down effect on the remainder of the college, and enforce it that way. And if they go that route, while they’re at it, they might as well install gay and lesbian drinking fountains and make the gays and lesbians sit in the back of the bus, since that’s where they’re headed. After all, various sexual orientations are perfectly natural, and hardwired into a person, and thus people can’t change who they are, just like how people don’t choose what race they want to be (unless you happen to be Michael Jackson, but let’s not go there).

Of course, I like to think that these people in Richmond have more sense than to really press the point on this one, and that this is really just political grandstanding to woo their socially conservative base. I mean after all, in saying that state colleges are not allowed to protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation, they’re basically saying that someone can choose to say, for instance, “I’m not going to hire you because you’re gay.” I admit, though, that it takes balls to actually come out and say that colleges have no authority to codify non-discrimination based on sexual orientation, even if the law is on his side. I’ll bet, though, that if the state pressed the point, a talented lawyer could probably make a strong equal protection case out of it.

So in the end, even if non-discrimination policies protecting people on sexual orientation are against the law, Virginia’s state colleges should maintain them anyway and let the administration dig its own grave.

Too bad Virginia doesn’t allow recalls of elected representatives. This is also why Virginia needs to amend its constitution to allow governors to serve multiple consecutive terms. This would make them more accountable to their constituents. Right now, once they’re in, they’re accountable to no one, because regardless of how well they do or how badly they screw up, they are gone in four years. They’re essentially a lame duck before they’re even sworn in. As much as we say that politicians spend too much time campaigning for reelection, at least some of it is a necessary evil, since otherwise, you turn into Virginia with its stream of lame duck governors who can do whatever they want once they’re elected and be accountable to no one.

And when are people going to realize that discrimination based on sexual orientation, or any other factor that the person cannot change, is just plain wrong?

Web site: This whole thing has really gotten my panties in a wad. So now let's cool off for a moment: PUPPIES!

Song: I can't think of anything that would fit. I've tried. Hum something to yourself.

Quote: Meanwhile, someone ought to see if they can find out what Ken Cuccinelli or Bob McDonnell are doing after hours. I would find it very amusing in that schadenfreude sort of way if some sort of discovery led to one of them having to stand up at a podium next to his wife at one of those mandatory I-have-sinned-against-you press conferences. I mean after all, he who is without sin can cast the first stone, they say...