Saturday, December 17, 2005

Gov. Warner's Gutless Move To Assuage GLBT Voters

Gov. Mark Warner (D) of Virginia issued an executive order that for the first time bans discrimination in that state’s government based on a person’s sexual orientation reports today’s Washington Post, following the lead of more than 25 other states. Advance Indiana would normally applaud such a decision, but not in this case.

Warner, who is an Indianapolis native and potential Democratic candidate for president in 2008, made his announcement with less than 30 days left in his term as governor. If Warner sincerely believed in this policy he would have done it long before now while he was actively governing the state. Presumably, he didn’t do so before now because he thought it would create an uproar in the conservative Old Dominion state. Rather, he did so to throw a bone at GLBT-friendly voters in the next presidential election.

Conservatives in the state reacted predictably. "Instead of publicly standing in front of the cameras and microphones, he sneaks it in during the last days of his administration," Chris Freund of the Family Foundation said. "He has clearly chosen to leave a legacy that includes the very social issues he says he doesn't want to deal with."

Warner’s spokesperson said that “the governor was moved to act after he learned that 60 percent of state lawmakers have pledged the same protections in their own hiring.” Okay, so then why did you do it in the dark of the night and without a formal press conference if it was so important to make the change?  Sound a little familiar.

Advance Indiana would note that, unlike the policy enacted by Gov. Daniels for Indiana’s state employees, Warner’s policy does not include gender identity.

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