This week Virginia’s Board of Juvenile Justice stood fast and re-endorsed a set of revised rules that protect LGBT youth in residential facilities. despite mounting pressure from GOP anti-gay Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to rescind the protections.
In 2005 under then-Gov. Mark Warner (D), protections were added to the rules which explicitly banned discrimination based on a variety of characteristics, including sexual orientation, in the department’s programs and facilities. The language was kept in place under Warner’s successor, Gov. Tim Kaine (D).
In June 2010, the Board of Juvenile Justice issued new rules for residential facilities retaining the LGBT protections. But in July 2011, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and Cuccinelli refused to sign off on the new rules, as they applied to residential facilities, as long as they contained LGBT protections.
In 2012 Cuccinelli went even further and threatened to deny board members legal representation in the event a lawsuit was lodged challenging the nondiscrimination provisions – the members of the Board of Juvenile Justice were not swayed.
James Parrish, the executive director of Equality Virginia, and Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, released a joint statement Nov. 14 supporting of the board’s decision.
”The Board of Juvenile Justice adopted final rules in June 2010 that continued explicit prohibitions on discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in its residential facilities,” Parrish and Gastañaga said in the statement. ”Since that time, the members of the Board have refused to retreat from their commitment to LGBT youth even in the face of the current Attorney General’s ill-founded, ideological intransigence.”
Parrish and Gastañaga also vowed that their organizations would closely monitor the situation to ensure such protections are implemented.
Thank you Virginia’s Board of Juvenile Justice for standing up for LGBT youth and standing fast against the anti-gay GOP who are so loathsome that they would allow children, any children to potentially be hurt because of their sick and twisted ideology.