Thanks, Bob, for Coming Out

Thanks are due to Governor Bob McDonnell for saying clearly that he will not tolerate discrimination against gay men and lesbians in state government.

At the same time, it is telling that we feel some relief–because until now it was hard to be sure what he really thought. He seemed to be like some LGBT folk–sort of out of the closet but not exactly out either.

He said he would not discriminate, but he refused to issue an executive order, saying he did not have the authority. Now he has issued an executive directive. We’ll take it, even if it is unclear what status it has.

The next step for him is to tell the General Assembly he wants a bill passed that incorporates the principles he has enunciated–so there is real legal protection. We need more than telling people to be nice.

There is another missing piece. So far, the governor has sidestepped questions about gender identity. I suspect he doesn’t want to unduly upset his base. But our transgender siblings deserve protection, too.

Maybe, Bob is discovering something LGBT folks know already. Once you open the closet door, it gets harder and harder not to go the whole way.