news virginia house republicans continue assault on lgbtq civil rights

Virginia House Republicans continue assault on LGBTQ+ civil rights

The Republican majority in the Virginia House of Delegates is following through on its promises to the base to roll back recent gains made in LGBTQ+ equality.

This week, the House, by a 54-45 majority, passed HB 753, which would amend the Virginia Values Act to allow religious-based discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other characteristics.

“Anti-equality legislators in Virginia have repeatedly pushed legislation this session that would allow discrimination including against LGBTQ+ individuals,” said Cathryn Oakley, the state legislative director and senior counsel to the Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people.

Republicans hold a slim 52-48 majority in the House, but they’re acting as if they have a supermajority in the upper 60s. On the very first day of the legislative session, the new majority stripped explicit non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity from House rules.  And just last week, anti-equality legislators on a House subcommittee struck down legislation that would have given Virginia voters a chance to decide if the state should remove a now-defunct provision in the state constitution banning same-sex marriage.

Repeated efforts from anti-equality legislators in Virginia to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people come as a record number of anti-equality legislators are planning a renewed legislative assault in state legislatures across the country

In 2021, more than 290 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced across 33 states, including more than 140 specifically anti-transgender bills. Each of these marks set a new record for anti-equality legislation being introduced and enacted in a single state legislative session since the Human Rights Campaign began tracking legislation.

“The Human Rights Campaign and our partner organizations across Virginia will continue to work with pro-equality leaders in the state to block all attempts to legislate discrimination. The Commonwealth is best when it’s open and welcoming to all to live, work, and raise a family,” Oakley said.



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