Equality Virginia on Executive Directive

By Yvette Yeon - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT)- Governor Bob McDonnell made it clear in what is much like a code-of-conduct policy that discrimination based on one's sexual orientation will not be tolerated for all state employees.

"If it's reported I will take action from reprimand to termination to make sure that does not occur," said McDonnell.

For the group, Equality Virginia, a major gay rights organization, this is progress.

"It's a positive step forward for all of the state workers who deserve to be protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation," said Claire Gastanaga of Equality Virginia.

But not everyone is happy with the governor's decision. The conservative Family Foundation, strong supporter of McDonnell said in a statement, "that adding additional classes of persons to the commonwealth's non-discrimination policy is unnecessary."

But, gay rights activists say more can be done. They want it in written form amended into the human rights act.

"Until it's actually reduced to writing in black and white it will be subject to debate and potentially litigation," said Gastanaga.

But that would require approval from the general assembly, something the legislature has been reluctant to do. One of the primary reasons McDonnell felt this directive was necessary.

"I can't change the human rights act but what I believe I can do is to control all hundred and some members of the state and employee workforce," said McDonnell.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.