A giant step backwards for Virginia. McDonnell says he won't renew ban on discrimination against gays | Lynchburg News Advance By Ray Reed Published: October 13, 2009 Updated: October 14, 2009 Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell said Tuesday he would not renew an executive order by Virginias last two governors that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation for state job applicants. I think it would be illegal to carry it forward if he is elected governor, McDonnell said in an interview Tuesday with The News & Advances editorial board. Nevertheless, McDonnell said, There will be no discrimination in the office of governor. He said employees should be hired based solely on their competence and willingness to get positive results for Virginia. His opposition to an executive order banning discrimination, issued by governors Mark Warner and Timothy M. Kaine, was not a philosophical issue. That was a separation of powers issue, McDonnell said. His position against the order shouldnt be connected to beliefs McDonnell expressed in his graduate-school thesis 20 years ago that criticized feminists and gays, he said. McDonnell said he didnt discriminate against gays when he hired people to work in the attorney generals office. I know for a fact that gay people worked there from 2006 until this year, he said, and They did a great job. All I cared about was whether they met his requirement for getting results for Virginia, he said. McDonnell said during a debate Monday night with his Democratic opponent, state Sen. Creigh Deeds, that the executive order overstepped the governors authority. McDonnell said he told Kaine, in an opinion in 2006, that the non-discrimination issues in employment were the General Assemblys responsibility and not the governors. Deeds has not taken a prominent role in the discrimination debate, although he cosponsored a bill in 2008 that would have prohibited discrimination based on several factors, one of which was sexual orientation. The bill never made it out of a House committee.