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Va. Gov. McDonnell prohibits bias against gay state workers

Va. Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, right, and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling during a bill signing in Richmond. McDonnell says he is calling for civility.
Va. Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, right, and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling during a bill signing in Richmond. McDonnell says he is calling for civility. (Steve Helber/associated Press)
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McDonnell's actions also received praise from the presidents of the College of William and Mary and the University of Virginia. The leaders of the Northern Virginia Technology Council also applauded the news and said in a statement that they thought Cuccinelli's opinion had been an "unwarranted and unnecessary intrusion" into the governance of state universities that could damage the state's business climate.

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McDonnell's directive came on the same day that more than 1,000 students rallied at Richmond's Virginia Commonwealth University and as reaction to Cuccinelli's letter had been growing nationally and within Virginia's business community. The topic was a subject of a lengthy segment on "The Daily Show" Tuesday, and some students had been sending e-mails about their concerns to Northrop Grumman, the defense corporation weighing sites around the region for its corporate headquarters, urging them to avoid Virginia.

Democrats have risen on the floor of the legislature each day this week to rail against the attorney general's action and to call on McDonnell to send legislation to the General Assembly that would codify discrimination before the annual session adjourns Saturday.

They were countered on the House floor Wednesday by Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), who suggested the reaction against Cuccinelli might be an attack against his Catholic faith.

Marshall said last night that McDonnell's directive carries no force and is no more than a "press release with fluff around it."

Staff writer Fredrick Kunkle contributed to this report.

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