Equality Virginia announces 2019 legislative priorities

equality virginiaVirginia lawmakers joined Equality Virginia to mark the advocacy organization’s 13th anniversary and announce legislation filed to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Virginians.

Equality Virginia is the state’s leading advocacy organization seeking equality for LGBT Virginians and is prioritizing passage of two bills that will protect LGBT people in public employment and housing.

For the past three legislative sessions, the Republican-controlled State Senate has passed both the Fair Housing Law to protect LGBT Virginians from discrimination in housing and legislation to prohibit discrimination in state and local government public employment. Equality Virginia’s Executive Director James Parrish opened today’s press conference by talking about the urgent need to pass these bipartisan bills.

“Many people are surprised to learn that in this day and age, it is actually still legal under our state’s laws to discriminate against people simply because they’re gay or transgender. That’s wrong, and Virginia’s lawmakers can do something about it. They can pass common-sense, bipartisan legislation to protect LGBT people in public employment and housing and move equality forward in the Commonwealth.”

“2019 is a special year for Equality Virginia—it marks our thirtieth anniversary and marks a golden opportunity to move equality forward in the Commonwealth,” continued Parrish. “This is the year we’ll take our next step towards ensuring that Virginia is a safe, welcoming, and equal place for LGBT people and their families to live, work, and play.”

Parrish was joined Monday by Attorney General Mark Herring and state lawmakers who have filed pro-LGBT legislation during the 2019 session, including Senator Adam Ebbin, Delegate Ken Plum, Delegate Rip Sullivan, Delegate Marcus Simon, Delegate Marcia Price, Delegate Debra Rodman, Delegate Kaye Kory, Delegate Vivian Watts, Delegate Mark Levine, and Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg. Other pro-LGBT legislation filed this year relates to preventing hate crimes against LGBT people, providing healthcare for transition-related services, and modernizing state statute to reflect marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Tomorrow Equality Virginia will host supporters at the Statehouse to kick off the 2019 legislative session and build momentum for passing key nondiscrimination protections for LGBT Virginians. Advocates will gather Wednesday, January 9th at 10 AM at the Bell Tower at Capitol Square and will then proceed into the General Assembly to meet with Legislators and share their personal stories as to why these nondiscrimination protections are urgently needed.

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