Just when I want to celebrate Portugal becoming the sixth European nation legalizing same-gender marriage—yes, Portugal!—I receive news that Michael W. Moore’s appeal against job discrimination has been rejected by the Virginia Supreme Court.
Moore, an employee of the Virginia Museum of Natural History, was fired on November 14, 2006. He had received a positive employee evaluation on October 20. He maintains that the only cause of his dismissal is his sexual orientation.
Michael W. Moore and his attorney, Michael Hamar, outside the Supreme Court of Virginia
This is the kind of situation that LGBT Virginians face all too often. There is no legal recourse. Virginia is an “at will” employment state, and there are no statutory prohibitions on terminations based on sexual orientation.
Moore had used Governor Tim Kaine’s executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in his defense. But the Circuit Court said it had no basis in law, and the Supreme Court found no cause to disagree.
If Kaine’s order had no legal force, imagine how much less Governor McDonnell’s Executive Directive (never before issued in Virginia) must have. Further, this case is a clear rebuttal to McDonnell’s musing that we may not have a problem in Virginia.
This is why we must have employment protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
Please, if you are a person of faith and have not yet signed the Statement of Conscience to be given later this year to Governor McDonnell, Attorney General Cuccinelli, and members of the General Assembly, do it now. Go to http://www.faith4equalityva.org/TakeAction/tabid/3995/Default.aspx and scroll down to the Statement of Conscience.
And whether you are a person of faith or not, also please sign the petition sponsored by Equality Virginia at http://www.equalityvirginia.org/endworkplacediscrimination.html
And tell others about this drive to make sure Virginia’s leaders do the right thing.
Let’s write laws that ensure that the next Michael Moore can be sure his or her case is heard and decided on the basis of justice, not prejudice.
Rev. Dr. Robin H. Gorsline is President of People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, an interfaith organization of gay and straight clergy and lay people working for equality for LGBT Virginians. Read more of his thoughts on faith and spirituality on his personal blog.