Sen. Mark Herring: "Cuccinelli's letter is an embarrassment to our Commonwealth"

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The following is from Senator Mark Herring (D-33). I couldn't agree more with what Herring has to say.
In recent weeks, Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has been making headlines for the wrong reasons. Most recently, it has been revealed that Cuccinelli sent a letter to state college presidents and other officials advising them that they do not have the authority to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. Cuccinelli’s statement would give the green light to firing professors and denying admission to applicants for no other reason than their sexual orientation.

Discrimination is unacceptable, period, and it certainly should not be permitted in employment and admissions at public colleges and universities in Virginia.

Cuccinelli’s letter is reprehensible. It not only threatens the quality and competitiveness of Virginia’s higher education system, it severely damages the progress Virginia has made in recent years to embrace diversity and become the best place in America for business. By not repudiating his statement, Governor McDonnell has made it clear that his administration is content with turning the clock back on civil rights.

This distraction comes at a time when the General Assembly is facing its toughest budget process in years, with painful cuts due to an unprecedented decline in state revenues. Instead of focusing on fixing our economic problems, the Attorney General and the McDonnell Administration seem to be intent on scoring political points with their base. This is not the sort of problem-solving, pragmatic leadership Virginians were promised during last fall’s campaign.

Attorney General Cuccinelli’s letter is an embarrassment to our Commonwealth. His position and Governor McDonnell’s tacit support of it are moving Virginia out of the mainstream and into the political fringe.