This Is What Happens When The Religious Right Takes Over Your State

When Ken Cuccinelli was running to become Virginia's Attorney General, he made it quite clear that he was a hard-core right-winger who didn't like gays:

"My view is that homosexual acts, not homosexuality, but homosexual acts are wrong. They’re intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law based country it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that. ... They don’t comport with natural law. I happen to think that it represents (to put it politely; I need my thesaurus to be polite) behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society."

So I guess it comes as no surprise that now that he is in office, he's using his position to press his anti-gay agenda:

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II has asked the state's public colleges and universities to rescind policies that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, arguing in a letter sent to each school Thursday that their boards of visitors have no legal authority to adopt such statements.

In the letter, Cuccinelli (R) wrote that only the General Assembly can extend legal protections to gay state employees -- a move the legislature has repeatedly declined to take, including as recently as this week.

"It 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," he wrote.

Colleges that have included such language in their policies -- which include all of Virginia's leading schools -- have done so "without proper authority" and should "take appropriate actions to bring their policies in conformance with the law and public policy of Virginia," Cuccinelli wrote.

Last month, Gov. Bob McDonnell signed a decree taking away protections for gay and lesbian state workers in Virginia, so things are really looking up for equality in Virginia under its Republican leadership.