Landmark legislation protecting LGBT Virginians in public employment and housing passes Senate

lgbtToday the Virginia Senate approved SB 423 and SB 202, landmark legislation protecting LGBT Virginians in public employment and housing. This marks the third consecutive year that the Virginia Senate has passed similar legislation with strong bipartisan support. All eyes now turn to the House of Delegates who could vote on these bills as soon as February 14th.

“For the third year in a row, a bipartisan coalition of Virginia Senators voted to move Virginia forward by protecting LGBT people from discrimination,” said James Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia. “This vote affirms what Virginians already know to be true: that our state is at its strongest when we’re all free to live our lives without fear of discrimination. This is the latest evidence that Virginia is ready for equal opportunity for all. We urge the House of Delegates to follow the Senate’s lead and move Virginia forward.”

Earlier this month, Gov. Ralph Northam signed Executive Order One banning anti-LGBT discrimination within the state’s government – an expansion of an earlier order signed by former Governor Terry McAuliffe. There are several other LGBT issues pending in the legislature, including bills that ban so-called conversion therapy for minors, add sexual orientation and gender identity to recognized hate crimes, and removing health insurance barriers for transgender Virginians.

“This is a breakthrough moment for LGBTQ Virginians, and we hope this momentum carries into the newly seated House” said Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans. “All eyes have been on the Commonwealth in the wake of their recent election, and this moment is ripe with potential. The time is now. Virginia is ready for equal opportunity for all.”

“Many members of the Virginia House of Delegates have not yet had an opportunity to vote in favor of protecting LGBT Virginians,” added Parrish. “We know many Virginians are still getting to know LGBT people and our families. But what we all know is that discrimination of any kind is wrong. Virginia’s state leadership and newly elected legislature have an opportunity to send a message that Virginia welcomes all people to live, work, and raise a family.”