Michael Moore, a former resident of Martinsville, VA said he was forced to resign from the Virginia Museum of Natural History because he is gay. The state has no anti-discrimination law, just Governor Tim Kaine's (who is also the DNC chair) 2006 executive order. The courts have ruled that without legislation on the books, Moore has no recourse there. (Wash Blade):

According to Moore, during his evaluation in October 2006, the museum’s executive director, Tim Gette said, “Michael, there are board members that are aware you are gay, and I do not appreciate you hiding that from me.” Moore has said his evaluation qualified him for a pay increase, but he was still asked to resign the following month.

Michael Hamar, who’s gay and Moore’s attorney, said he’s “disappointed” in the court’s decision. “It looks as if they’re saying the executive order in 2006 doesn’t basically do anything,” Hamar said.

A Roanoke Times editorial calls for legislative action to protect employees.

Through his spokesman, Kaine said the executive order would remain in effect, but as an internal policy. Workers who are fired or discriminated against because of their sexual orientation can seek redress through the state's personnel procedures, said spokesman Gordon Hickey.

That's less than adequate. The decision by the Martinsville court should be a convincing sign to the General Assembly that protection against such discrimination must be written into Virginia's code. Only a law will offer genuine confidence to Virginia's gay employees that they won't face irrational threats to their employment based on their sexual orientation.

Notably, trans protections are not called for, so whoever works on writing up a bill needs to get that on the radar.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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