House passes bill giving businesses license to discriminate against LGBTs

lgbtThe House of Delegates passed a bill on Tuesday that would establish a right to discriminate for people who hold certain religious beliefs about extramarital sex, same-sex marriage, and the transgender community.

The bill passed on a 56-41 vote.

HB 773, patroned by Delegate Todd Gilbert, is a Kim Davis-inspired bill that allows discrimination against same-sex couples, transgender people, or those engaging in extramarital sex within any government entity – from clerks of court to school sports coaches. The bill would prohibit government from taking action against employees who refuse to do their job because it goes against their personal religious beliefs, and would allow clerks and others to refuse to provide service if they have a religious objection to doing so.

“HB 773 creates a quasi-protected class of people who are given a license to discriminate based on religious beliefs,” said David J. Toscano, Democratic Leader. “Jefferson and the founders felt strongly about religious freedom, but this bill would permit religious beliefs to justify discriminatory acts, something firmly disfavored by our Constitution.”

“Giving preference to one person’s religious beliefs over those of another is offensive and promotes inequality,” said Charniele Herring, Democratic Caucus Chair. “Ensuring that all Virginians are equal in the eyes of the law should be the goal of the General Assembly. Granting a free pass to discriminate is simply wrong.”

“This legislation gives state approval to discriminate against others,” Roanoke Democratic Del. Sam Rasoul said. “It sends a terrible message not only to people currently living in Virginia, but also sets an unwelcoming and hostile tone to people and businesses who might be considering relocating to the Commonwealth.

“The implications of this bill mean that businesses or organizations could be denied licenses, accreditation, or grant funding simply because a public official disagrees with the proprietor’s lifestyle.  To permit persecution under the guise of ‘religious liberty’ goes against our nation’s values.  I’m extremely disappointed that some of my colleagues are sending a message that inequality and discrimination are acceptable in Virginia,” Rasoul said.



  • The Supreme Court in Larson v. Valente held that “one religious denomination cannot be officially preferred over another.” Giving persons with specific enumerated religious or moral beliefs over the beliefs of others is in direct opposition to this ruling.
  • The Virginia Constitution expressly protects the “right to be free from any governmental discrimination upon the basis of religious conviction.” The section also creates strict scrutiny of measures such as HB 773 that create a preferred status for certain beliefs over others.
  • There is no evidence that the Virginia Religious Freedom Restoration Act is inadequate to protect people from government action burdening their free exercise of their religious beliefs.

Books from AFP

2018-19 UVA Basketball Preview: Just $1.99 on Amazon!

UVA Basketball finished the 2017-18 season ranked at the top of the national polls. Augusta Free Press editor Chris Graham offers his insight and analysis on the 2018-19 'Hoos, breaking down the roster, the legacy of coach Tony Bennett, and how the loss to UMBC could fuel a run through March Madness next spring.

The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever: Just $3.49 on Amazon!

Chris Graham offers a glimpse behind the curtain of the pro wrestling business in his new book, The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, the inside story of the 2011 Night of Legends, a live pay-per-view event featuring stars including WWE Hall of Famers Kevin Nash, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan and The Rock 'n Roll Express that was met with almost universally negative reviews.

Mad About U: History of University Hall available on Amazon for just $5.99!

Mad About U: Four Decades of at University Hall is a comprehensive book covering the players, coaches and memories of University Hall at the University of Virginia. Join us as we look back at the memories from more than 40 years in U Hall.

News From Around the Web

Shop Google