Senate passes employment non-discrimination bill
On a 24-16 vote Friday the Virginia Senate passed landmark employment protections for LGBT Virginians in state government. There are currently no protections in law for LGBT citizens who are discriminated against on the job in Virginia government.
Sen. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) said, “This bill would write into the law a fundamental Virginia value, equal protection, and protect all state employees against being discriminated against for any reason. I am glad the Senate voted today for SB 701. The time has come for Virginia law to reflect the will of the majority of Virginia’s citizens.”
Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) said, “In 1970, Governor Linwood Holton signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination in state employment. 35 years later, Governor Mark Warner signed an executive order expanding those protections to include sexual orientation, and Governor Tim Kaine’s first executive order did the same. No state employee should ever doubt Virginia’s commitment to equal opportunity employment for all. This bill assures state employees that they will be judged solely on their merits and that discrimination has no place in Virginia.”
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner said, “In 2005, I was proud to be the first Virginia Governor to protect gay workers at state agencies from discrimination in hiring and promotions. I viewed it as a powerful tool for recruiting and retaining top talent across state government. Today, the principals of equal opportunity and fairness represent official policy for virtually every major employer in Virginia and across the country. I am very, very pleased today to see the Virginia Senate approve this commonsense protection for Virginia’s LGBT workers, making equal opportunity for state and local government employees a permanent part of the Code of Virginia so that it does not have to be renewed every four years through an executive order.”