Equality Virginia disappointed in House subcommittee vote

equality virginiaVirginia House of Delegates Subcommittee #4 on General Laws chose not to decisively vote on two of the unprecedented six anti-LGBT bills heard during the meeting by tabling them and sending them to be reviewed by the Virginia Code Commission. Two other anti-LGBT bills were voted to report back to the full committee, while HB 773 (Gilbert) was passed by for the day.

Equality Virginia, along with gay and transgender community advocates, attended the subcommittee meeting to testify against the harmful legislation and speak in support of the pro-equality bills. The following two anti-bills opposed by Equality Virginia were passed on to the Code Commission:

  • HB 77 (Marshall): Allows for discrimination in violation with federal policy
  • HB 397 (LaRock): Contradicts federal policy, narrowly defines sex and gender to exclude transgender people from any protections against discrimination

With HB 781 substituting for HB 663, the following two bills opposed Virginia’s gay and transgender community will report back to the full House Committee on General Laws:

  • HB 385 (Marshall): Removes discrimination protections covering more than 1/4 of gay and transgender public school employees
  • HB 781 (Cole): Stigmatize transgender youth and force them to use incorrect public accommodations

The six anti-LGBT bills on the docket for House Subcommittee #4 seek to harm gay and transgender Virginians in a number of ways, from discriminating against LGBT families to prohibiting transgender people and youth from using the appropriate restrooms in schools and government buildings.

“Today Delegates Hodges, Wright, Knight, Bell, and Leftwich stood in the path to progress and equality by choosing not to vote on bills that would harm gay and transgender Virginians, as well as bills that would provide them much needed protections.  These delegates refuse to acknowledge what the majority of Virginia has long believed: protecting LGBT Virginians is not only the right thing to do, but it’s what is best for the overall success of the commonwealth,” said Executive Director James Parrish. “Our hope now is the broad Republican support in the Senate will provide the bipartisan support needed to properly and accurately represent Virginia’s people and the Code Commission will take these issues into serious consideration in the upcoming year.”

While Equality Virginia expresses disappointment at the subcommittee’s lack of votes on the legislation heard, EV also thanks the seven patrons of pro-equality bills that would protect LGBT people across the commonwealth. While all pro-equality legislation heard at the subcommittee were also tabled and passed onto the Code Commission, these legislators are helping to pave the way for full, lived and legal equality in Virginia.

Equality Virginia will continue to monitor any bills affecting Virginia’s LGBT community as they move out of committee and to the floor.