by Tim Dunkin For the foreseeable future, Virginiaâ€™s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will probably remain one of the most unpopular figures among the administrators and many of the students in Virginiaâ€™s university system. The reason? He had the audacity to challenge the longstanding (and, as it turns out, illegal) efforts by the radical homosexual lobby and its allies in Virginiaâ€™s schools to systematically discriminate against those who disagree with that particular lifestyle choice. Cuccinelli, a conservative Republican who handily swept into office last November as part of Virginiaâ€™s anti-Obama backlash, has proven to be a leader in standing for the rule of law and order in his state.
So what did Cuccinelli do, specifically? Last week, he issued an official letter of advice to Virginiaâ€™s university system which centered about the following,
â€œIt is my advice that the law and public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia prohibit a college or university from including 'sexual orientation,' 'gender identity,' 'gender expression,' or like classification as a protected class within its non-discrimination policy absent specific authorization from the General Assembly,â€
What Cuccinelliâ€™s advice basically states is that universities cannot go beyond what the Virginia General Assembly itself has chosen to consider as groups to whom state non-discrimination policies may apply. In other words, the stateâ€™s universities cannot simply consider themselves to be laws unto themselves, making policy where the peopleâ€™s legislature has not. It is illegal for them to act outside the bounds that the Assembly itself has established. The argument Cuccinelli made turns on a relatively mundane distinction in the law, and would normally not raise eyebrows. Indeed, a ruling such as this would usually not even merit a headline buried at the bottom of an internet news source.
Except that Cuccinelliâ€™s advice happens to push a very hot button.
This button, of course, is the detrimental effect that it has on the advancement of the radical gay lobbyâ€™s efforts to use Virginia universities as socializing points for mainstreaming the acceptance of homosexuality, and stigmatizing and sanctioning those who donâ€™t get with the program, as has happened on campuses all across the country.
The Left is predictably irate about this ruling. For example, Rebecca Glenberg, the ACLUâ€™s legal director, issued a statement warning university leaders that even if they abide by the AGâ€™s ruling, they are still â€œbound by the United States Constitution not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation,â€ and further,
â€œIn Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996), the United States Supreme Court held that discriminatory laws based on sheer animus toward lesbian and gay persons violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Later, in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), the Court ruled that consensual, adult sexual relationships are protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, notwithstanding societal views regarding the morality of such relationships.
Consistent with these principles, courts have repeatedly held that public employers may not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientationâ€¦â€
I would suppose that it has escaped Ms. Glenbergâ€™s apparently imprecise attention that AG Cuccinelli was not ordering Virginia universities to discriminate on the basis of â€œsexual orientation.â€ Nowhere in his letter of advice does he suggest that university officials begin rounding up homosexuals in â€œgay witch hunts,â€ nor did he call for them to begin expelling gay students and faculty. Ms. Glenbergâ€™s letter appears to be much ado about nothing.
Indeed, the effect that Cuccinelliâ€™s advice will have on discrimination will be to prevent it from occurring. Anyone familiar with public universities in this country knows that what these policies that supposedly protect homosexuals from discrimination really do is allow homosexuals and their leftist allies in the administration to discriminate against those who disagree with and speak out against that lifestyle choice. In other words, â€œprotections fromâ€ discrimination are really â€œprovisions forâ€ it. Under them, a student who expressed disagreement with homosexuality will find themselves the subject of a complaint and can be sanctioned, have grades reduced, can be suspended for a semester, or maybe even expelled, depending on just how stern of a message the administration wants to send to the others to keep them in line. A professor who says the wrong thing can see all sorts of pressure â€“ funding cutbacks, loss of teaching slots, perhaps even the loss of his or her job. All on the basis of the interpretation of these â€œanti-discriminationâ€ policies that the exercise of free speech is an act of â€œdiscrimination.â€ In other words, the desire for homosexuals to force at least outward conformity with and acceptance of their lifestyle choice trumps the constitutional rights of students and professors to their freedom of religion and their freedom of expression.
Rather makes Ms. Glenbergâ€™s plaintive appeal to the protections afforded by the Constitution seem hollow and hypocritical, does it not?
This, of course, hasnâ€™t prevented leftist students from shattering the stateâ€™s collective eardrums about just how â€œunfairâ€ it is that all Virginian students will now be able to equally access their first amendment right to free speech. Anti-Cuccinelli rallies have been organized on campuses across the state, and the Attorney Generalâ€™s Facebook page was the subject of intense and sustained bombardment by proponents of discrimination by gays. As usual with the Left, true freedom is â€œoppressive,â€ while oppression in the name of â€œtoleranceâ€ and â€œdiversityâ€ is the order of the day. However, we can be thankful that the rule of law and the principle of popular legislative origination have been wielded in this case to stop legalized discrimination against heteronormative students and faculties. If the gays and their leftist allies are going to regain the ability to tyrannize everyone else, they are going to have to figure out a way to convince the Virginia State Assembly to allow them to do it. This isnâ€™t likely to happen anytime soon, considering that the Assembly took up this very issue last week (once again), and rejected inclusion of â€œsexual orientationâ€ into the stateâ€™s legally-defined protected categories (once again).
Kudos to Ken Cuccinelli for taking a stand for freedom and the rule of law.