LGBT advocates fight back on equal rights

lgbtVirginia’s leading advocates for LGBT rights today denounced an all-out attack on the rights of that community – including children – in nine bills currently before the state legislature.

The ACLU of Virginia and Equality Virginia together vowed to fight for LGBT rights throughout the General Assembly session.

“The ACLU of Virginia fought for marriage equality and are standing with a transgender teen who faces discrimination from his local school board, so we are taking this personally,” said ACLU Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga. “We urge every Virginian to educate themselves about the deliberate, coordinated war being waged on LGBT Virginians and let their delegates and senators know it is unacceptable.”

“The bills filed seek to provide a license to discriminate against lesbian and gay families, harm LGBT youth, and disallow transgender Virginians to go about their lives by denying basic rights,” said James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia. “We will not stand idly by while legislation that isolates and discriminates against Virginia’s LGBT community passes through – it’s up to us to stand up for equality and forge a Commonwealth that is inclusive and accepting of all.”

Among the anti-LGBT bills filed so far:

  • Del. Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg) wants to impose a $50 penalty on any adult or child who uses a bathroom or locker room that doesn’t match their “anatomical” or “biological” sex.
  • Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson) wants to authorize Virginia clerks of court – who are elected officials – to use their public offices to discriminate against same sex couples.
  • Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) wants to legalize discrimination by individuals and businesses against same sex couples wanting to get married and against any transgender person.
  • Other delegates have introduced legislation to prohibit local governments and school divisions from adopting policies that protect LGBT students, teachers and other employees from discrimination on the job or in class.

The two organizations made their remarks at a news conference at the state Capitol this morning and were joined in support by a variety of Virginians who gave first-hand accounts of the negative effects these proposals would have on their lives.

Gastañaga and Parrish urged the public to contact their state legislators immediately to urge them to vote against the anti-LGBT measures.

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