bob_mcdonnell_013.jpgI hate when the civilization clock runs backwards.

On Feb. 5, Virginia’s new governor Robert McDonnell (R) signed an executive order covering discrimination and state workers, just like his two Democratic predecessors. But unlike the former govenors, he decided to take one group out of the list of groups protected from workplace bias — sexual orientation.

So, before Feb. 5, gay and lesbian state workers in Virginia could not be fired or suffer an adverse job action because of their sexual orientation, but now they’re pretty much defenseless.

Rachel Maddow had a great show earlier this week where she got the word out on how the new governor, who promised bipartisanship, immediately hoped on the partisan train when it came to gay workers in the state.

So nine days after Republicans tapped Gov. Bob McDonnell to give the Republican Party‘s response to President Obama‘s first state of the union, the governor declared by executive order that it is legal in the Commonwealth of Virginia for anyone who works for the state to be fired only because they‘re gay.

Any state agency can put up help wanted ads now that say, ‘Gays need not apply.’ Thanks to Bob McDonnell‘s overt action, his overt order in this case. You can be asked what your sexual orientation is in a job interview in Virginia and your answer can legally be the reason you don‘t get the job.

If you currently work for the State of Virginia in any capacity, it is now legal for your supervisor to ask you what your sexual orientation is or even to investigate your suspected sexual orientation. And you can be fired from your job with the state for the simple fact that you are gay.

The governor left in bias protections based on race, sex, religion and age, at least for now. Maybe we should all wonder if some day a politician might come along and decide race or sex should also be taken out. Let’s face it, recent generations didn’t think it was unjust to openly discriminate against African Americans and women. And equality still has a long way to go when it comes to women and minorities in the workplace, even with the protections.

Unfortunately, the federal government has also dropped the ball when it comes to gay rights on so many levels.

“There is currently NO FEDERAL LAW enforced by the EEOC prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation in the
private sector (which includes state/local government),” said David Grinberg, a spokesman for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Bias of any kind in the workplace does nothing to help employees, employers or this country, right?

If you want to know if sexual orientation bias is illegal in your state check out Lambda’s state-by-state breakdown.

It’s a depressing picture of tolerance in this country.

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