RICHMOND, Va. — Just moments after his inauguration on Saturday, Virgina governor Terry McAuliffe signed “Executive Order Number 1,” a directive prohibiting discrimination based on race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, political affiliation, or against otherwise qualified persons with disabilities in Virginia state government.
The order fulfills a campaign promise by McAuliffe to reinstate previous orders by former governors Tim Kaine and Mark Warner that prohibited discrimination against state employees on the basis of sexual orientation. The is the first time gender identity has been included.
McAuliffe’s predecessor, Bob McDonnell, had said there there was no need to ban discrimination against LGBT state employees because there was no evidence that there was any.
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“My administration is committed to keeping Virginia open and welcoming to all who call our Commonwealth home,” said McAuliffe.
“Executive Order Number 1 sets the tone for an administration that will not accept discrimination in any form, and one that will work tirelessly to ensure all Virginians have equal opportunity in the workplace, no matter their backgrounds, race, religion, or whom they love,” he said.
McAuliffe was sworn in as Virginia’s 72nd governor earlier Saturday after defeating outgoing Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the November general election.
Mark Herring was sworn in as attorney general and Ralph Northam as lieutenant governor, giving Democrats their first sweep of Virginia’s top three statewide offices in 24 years.