Global petition delivered Tuesday to stop anti-gay House bill

equality virginiaIn partnership with Equality Virginia, a petition from over 134,000 All Out members around the world, including 40,000 in the USA, will be delivered in front of the General Assembly tomorrow to urge delegates to reject anti-gay legislation in front of the Virginia House of Delegates.

After the treatment of the bill was postponed last week, a five-delegate subcommittee of Virginia’s House of Delegates are expected to consider the bill, HB-1414, as early as this Thursday.

 Click here for an updated count of All Out’s petition against Virginia’s anti-gay bill here :

“If the proposed anti-gay law passes, it would allow doctors to turn away gay patients.  Movie theaters or restaurants could throw someone out just because they are perceived to be gay,” said Andre Banks, Executive Director of All Out. “This is discrimination, plain and simple.  134,000 All Out members in the state and around the world have spoken out to make sure the Committee takes urgent action to protect the state from this horrific law.  Anti-gay laws have no place in the world and certainly not in Virginia.”

The bill sets out that lesbian, gay or bisexual people could be legally refused service by a private or public sector organization because of “religious or moral convictions”. The law would apply to any public or private sector organization operating under a licence from the state of Virginia. This includes doctors, hospitals, schools, lawyers, teachers, bars, shops, hotels and restaurants.

“This piece of legislation is extremist, hateful, and discriminatory,” said James Parrish, executive director with Equality Virginia.  “Businesses and service agencies that are open to the public should be open to everybody on the same terms, including to LGBT customers and clients. While we all have the freedom to practice the religion of our choosing, we cannot use those beliefs to discriminate against others.  Discrimination is wrong – it’s that simple.   Discrimination under the guise of religious freedom is still discrimination and Virginia is better than that.”

A number of legislators sitting on the House General Laws Committee are in opposition to the bill.

“I stand with many Virginians in support of the LGBT community. The continued advancement of our Commonwealth depends on equal opportunities for success for all citizens. HB 1414 does not help work towards this goal and is a step in the wrong direction,” said Delegate Betsy Carr.

More than a dozen other US states have proposed anti-gay laws that would allow discrimination in the name of “religion or moral convictions”,  Just last month, the Michigan Senate narrowly shut down another dangerous bill that would have given companies the right to say “no gays allowed”.

Click here for an updated count of All Out’s petition against Virginia’s anti-gay bill here :

The full text of the bill can be seen here.

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