Despite pressure from the attorney general, Board of Juvenile Justice refuses to ax protections for LGBT youth
By John Riley
Published on November 16, 2012, 4:18pm
Virginia's Board of Juvenile Justice this week re-endorsed a set of revised rules that protect LGBT youth. The move comes despite pressure from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) to rescind the protections, which apply to Department of Juvenile Justice Services residential facilities.
In June 2010, the Board of Juvenile Justice issued new rules for residential facilities retaining the LGBT protections. But in July 2011, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and Cuccinelli refused to sign off on the new rules, as they applied to residential facilities, as long as they contained LGBT protections.
In January 2012, Cuccinelli went a step further and threatened to deny board members legal representation in the event a lawsuit was lodged challenging the nondiscrimination provisions. While a similar threat worked in influencing the state Board of Social Services to approve regulations restricting potential adoptive and foster parents for a number of characteristics – including sexual orientation – the members of the Board of Juvenile Justice were not swayed.
Despite pushback from the attorney general, the Juvenile Justice Board refused to strip away the protections for LGBT youth. But in order to get the language approved, the board further amended the regulation to prohibit “discrimination in violation of the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and state and federal statutes and regulations” in residential facilities.