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ACLU calls for defeat of bill licensing discrimination against LGBT Virginians

acluThe ACLU of Virginia released the following statement attributed to Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, Executive Director, ACLU of Virginia regarding HB1414, a bill to license discrimination that was pre-filed for consideration in the 2015 General Assembly Session by Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Manassas).

“This legislation is nothing more than a state-sanctioned license to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Virginians, including married same-sex couples, simply because of who they are.  The bill would do nothing more than reignite the Commonwealth’s historical hostility toward LGBT Virginians.  We’ve been down the path of legalized discrimination before, and the members of the General Assembly should know that this is not a path we should willingly walk ever again.

Religious freedom in America ensures that every person has the right to freely express and practice his or her own personal, religious beliefs.  That freedom does not, however, grant individuals, professionals or employers a free pass to discriminate against others in the name of those beliefs.  Sadly, discrimination under the cloak of religion is nothing new, and the transparency of that cloak is as clear now as it was 50 years ago when some business owners used it to challenge the end of legal segregation of the races in public accommodations.  The issue is simple – either you support discrimination or you oppose it.  The members of the General Assembly should make clear that they oppose discrimination by rejecting this legislation.”