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McDonnell Issues Directive Against Discrimination


In response to a growing uproar on state college campuses, Virginia governor Bob McDonnell issued an executive directive Wednesday to prohibit discrimination in the state workforce, including discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, critics like Rachel Maddow point out that an executive directive lacks an enforcement mechanism.

According to The Washington Post, McDonnell acted after state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli distributed a letter to the state's public colleges last week that advised them to remove references to sexual orientation from their nondiscrimination policies. The advice generated a backlash from students, who held protests.

Now, McDonnell appears to be issuing the executive directive as a form of crisis management. Last month on the subject of workplace discrimination, the governor issued an executive order, which carries the force of law, without mention of sexual orientation. The move was a reversal of previous executive orders that did include protections for sexual orientation.

"In Virginia, an executive directive doesn't have the force of law behind it, like say, an executive order, which is what he used to rescind gay rights," said Maddow. "An executive directive is like a request."

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Julie Bolcer