Last month, Attorney General Cuccinelli found himself in a familiar place: instructing someone not to protect LGBT rights. This time, he was at odds with the Board of Juvenile Justice, which oversees the Department of Juvenile Justice. Despite the expertise of this board and their overwhelming desire to pass a non-discrimination policy for LGBT youth in the system, Cuccinelli has once again threatened action from his office.
This tactic of claiming executive power has been effective in the past. Since taking office, the Attorney General’s Office has been successful in removing non-discrimination clauses at public universities and state agencies, and has persistently used this argument to prevent equality in local governments. Even as public opinion and agency actions have moved away from him, Cuccinelli has devoted unprecedented time and resources to limiting progress on this issue.
His actions last month are yet another reminder that elections matter. Currently, the protection provided by the Juvenile Justice Board stands, but it is likely the battle over this provision could delay the implementation all the regulation in the department. Only a new attorney general can guarantee that the voices of the 87% of Virginians that support non-discrimination for LGBT people are heard.