It would be an understatement to say that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s written advice to public universities was controversial. His opinion, as outlined in his widely disseminated letter, suggests that the “law and public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia prohibit[s] a college or university from including ‘sexual orientation,’ ‘gender identity, ‘gender expression,’ or like classification as a protected class.”
This excerpt is nothing but inflammatory because it directly addresses one of the most divisive issues we must confront as a university, state and nation: homosexuality.
Following the activist firestorm that erupted across college campuses throughout Virginia, many jumped to defend Cuccinelli’s letter. They have argued that Cuccinelli released this letter on purely legalistic grounds in order to persuade public universities to alter their policies so that they would fall more in line with established Virginia Law.
Supporters have attempted to place Cuccinelli in the ill-fitting mold of the disinterested politician, making decisions based on reason and law, as opposed to ideology or prejudice. Cuccinelli, they say, was simply offering an objective opinion in his official position as the Attorney General.
Or so he’d have us believe.
The truth is, what Cuccinelli has attempted to pass off as wonkish legal wrangling, is nothing more than “moral majority” hoopla (and poorly disguised hoopla at that). Proof of this claim is readily available.
For instance, in his letter, Cuccinelli invokes (and quotes) the Virginia Human Rights Act as his primary legal backing. The act protects a wide array of people based on certain criteria, but two groups, sexual orientation and veteran status, are noticeably lacking.
Virginia Tech, VCU, UVA, George Mason and CNU specifically include veterans as a protected group in their official non-discrimination policies. While not directly mentioned in the UMW Anti-Discrimination Policy, veterans are listed twice in the Bias and Incident Reporting Policy.
Yet Cuccinelli’s letter is sorely lacking in its indictment of ‘Veteran Status’ as a protected group. Because veterans are not explicitly mentioned in the Virginia Human Rights Act, Cuccinelli ought to be railing against our veterans just as nonchalantly as he has railed against homosexuals.
And yet he isn’t.
It’s hard to make a fair, legalistic argument when you have all that hypocrisy in your eyes. Like it or not, you can’t have it both ways.
Either Cuccinelli made a legal faux pas, selectively applying the law to one area while making sure to deny its presence in another and leading, of course, to questions of his ability and legal know-how.
Or, Ken Cuccinelli is, quite frankly, a bigot.
Then again, what are we to expect from the man who, during his Campaign for Attorney General, told the Virginian-Pilot that homosexual acts are “intrinsically wrong…I happen to think that it represents behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society.” With all due respect, Virginia voters, we should have seen this one coming.
Ken Cuccinelli was elected to the Office of the Attorney General. For better or worse, he is our lawyer. It is his job to protect us, using the legal system to benefit and defend the very people that hired him for the position that he now occupies.
And what will be his lasting legacy? He stood on the wrong side of history, arms crossed, and emphatically denied what was right.Cuccinelli