The Virginia Board of Juvenile Justice has voted to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, defying Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli who warned the board against the move.
Reports state that the board voted 5 to 1 to enact the protections. This is the second time the board has voted on the issue, having once before voted in favor of the move. The Board’s programs involve more than 800 young people in correctional facility housing.
Cuccinelli, infamous among LGBT rights groups for his missives against gay rights measures, dashed off an opinion that, per his understanding of the law, the board was effectively designating a special class of citizen in banning sexual orientation discrimination. Due to the fact that the state does not itself have such a provision, Cuccinelli argued the Board’s actions exceeded its authority because such power is reserved for the Legislature.
While several of Cuccinelli’s opinions on LGBT rights measures have fallen on deaf ears, the Virginia Board of Social Security did, per his advice, abandon an LGBT-inclusive non discrimination policy last year. You can read more on that here.
The policy must now go before Gov. Bob McDonnell who has routinely backed Cuccinelli’s anti-gay stands, though famously did depart from stridency when it came to the autonomy of the state’s universities to decide their own anti-discrimination rules.
“The regulations passed by the board today will return to the governor’s office for review as the next step in the process. They will be reviewed then in the coming weeks,” Jeff Caldwell, a spokesman for McDowell, said. “The governor’s office will review the minutes of board’s meeting and the language of the resolutions passed today before making any determination on this issue.”
The Board began a rewrite of its 300-page regulations in 2009 under Timothy Kaine’s administration. This involved a public consultation which brought about the move to include sexual orientation as a protected status.