Virginia: State Employees Lose Protections from Anti-LGBT Discrimination

Virginia: State Employees Lose Protections from Anti-LGBT Discrimination « HRC Back Story – I’m joining in the chorus of disappointment for Virginia’s residents with the decision of their governor to reinstate discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender state employees. As I have written on this blog extensively, diversity is a health issue, and in this economy especially, it doesn’t serve purpose to promote a hostile workforce, or for citizens in need to receive services from employees that work in one.

Some time ago, I used to teach a class at the University of Washington School of Medicine on diversity in the health professionals, and I reminded students that in most parts of Washington State (at the time), it was still legal to fire someone from their job for no other reason than that they were lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

This is no longer true in Washington State, however, this is a reminder that such discrimination is still legal across most of the United States, in 2010. And this is just employment.

The words of Mildred Loving, whose case, Loving v Virginia, ended racial discrimination in marriage in 1967 are appropriate here, considering that she sued the State of Virginia. Here’s what she said on the decision’s 40th Anniversary:

“Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the ‘wrong kind of person’ for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry.”

Meanwhile, Washington, DC, is barelling toward the end of marriage discrimination, set to end in less than a month, in March, 2010, and many Virginia employers, including mine, respect the value of diversity. People are excited and happier to live in a place that supports equality. See for yourself:

Washington, DC is the #epicenter of equality, too. Come join us.

Ted Eytan, MD