Northern Virginia Technology Council Statement on Governor Bob McDonnell's Executive Directive Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation

HERNDON, Va. - March 10, 2010 - The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) applauds Governor Bob McDonnell for issuing Executive Directive #1, which prohibits discrimination against any class of persons, including discrimination "based on factors such as one's sexual orientation," in the Commonwealth's employment practices.

In the Executive Directive, the Governor states "that the hiring, promotion, compensation, treatment, discipline, and termination of state employees shall be based on an individual's job qualifications, merit and performance. No employee of the Executive Branch shall engage in any discriminatory conduct against another employee." In an email to state employees which accompanied the Executive Directive, the Governor's Chief of Staff Martin Kent expressed the Governor's expectation that independent agencies and state supported colleges and universities should adopt similar standards of conduct.

The Governor's announcement today follows Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's action declaring invalid the inclusion of sexual orientation in the non-discrimination policies of Virginia's public colleges and universities.

NVTC believes that the Attorney General's action is harmful to the outstanding academic reputation of those institutions and to the basic tenets of academic freedom and equal educational opportunity. Furthermore, Attorney General Cuccinelli's action could damage Virginia's stature as the best state in the nation to do business, as the excellent quality of the public colleges and universities in our Commonwealth is an important criteria in that selection. The technology industry in Virginia and businesses in every sector rely on those exceptional institutions to produce a highly competent workforce and to attract additional businesses and employees to locate and expand in Virginia.

Attorney General Cuccinelli's opinion and advice to Virginia's public colleges and universities to remove sexual orientation from their respective non-discrimination policies is an unwarranted and unnecessary intrusion into the governance of those institutions. The presidents, rectors, and boards of visitors of Virginia's public colleges and universities have promulgated non-discrimination policies that are consistent with the Governor's Executive Directive and these policies should be honored by the Attorney General.