As a member of Equality Loudoun’s steering committee, I was involved with getting the Loudoun County School Board to add gender identity and sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy. It was an uphill battle where we frequently saw right wing extremists spreading blatant lies designed to scare the school board and the general public into thinking the move would result in Loudoun being sued for violating the Dillon Rule or put women in danger of being sexually assaulted (neither of which are true). After a two year fight, basic decency won and the school board stood up for basic equality.
The extreme right isn’t letting the issue go away, however, as Eugene Delgaudio’s organization is actively running a social media campaign casting the protections as part of a “perverse and murderous” agenda pushed by the radical left. He claims preventing discrimination against the transgender community is really designed “to push women out of athletics, out of their bathrooms and even out of the maternity ward.” Combined with the efforts of Sen. Dick Black to fund some of the right wing candidates running for the Loudoun County School Board, it’s obvious the right is doing whatever it takes to force their hatred and bigotry on local governments.
Del. Dave LaRock is also joining in the efforts to spread bigotry when it comes to the LGBT community. He was one of the more vocal opponents of the efforts in Loudoun County, but has also played a prominent role in recent events in Frederick County. Even though the protections had only been on the books for about a month, the Frederick County Board of Supervisors repealed measures preventing county staff from being discriminated against based on their sexual orientation.
County officials told the Winchester Star the major reasoning behind doing away with the protections was Del. LaRock told them it was a violation of state law (through the Dillon Rule). This argument ignores how there have been several other counties who’ve had similar measures on the books for years and haven’t faced any legal repurcussions from the state. Plus, Attorney General Mark Herring actually wrote a memorandum laying out how localities actually did have the legal authority to implement these protections. In other words, LaRock is simply trying to once again use the threat of legal action to force his right wing social agenda on the local community.
A lot of these measures are designed to not only promote their agenda, but also motivate their base of supporters as November’s elections are rapidly approaching and it looks like there could be another blue wave in Virginia. There’s a strong chance that could prove effective as many people aren’t even aware Virginia has elections this November. And even among those who do know, many aren’t following what’s going on with the Board of Supervisors or the School Board and will therefore be more likely believe a salacious headline or two highlighting the arguments of Delgaudio, Black, and LaRock.
Fortunately, Sen. Dick Black isn’t running for reelection this year (though him and his family are funding school board candidates who support their agenda). Del. Dave LaRock, however, is up for reelection in a district that is extremely favorable to Republicans. It’s such a conservative stronghold that even Corey Stewart was able to win the 33rd District in his bid for US Senate last year. As a result, it will take an extremely aggressive voter education program in the final months of the campaign if Mavis Taintor has any chance of defeating LaRock and his hate filled agenda.