Non-discrimination bill signs 46 legislative co-patrons
State Sen. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) and State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) announced on Thursday that they are co-patrons of a bill to add non-discrimination protections for state employees. Senate Bill 701 protects state employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in addition to current federal standards.
“This is about fairness,” McEachin said. “Employment and advancement should be solely dependent on job performance. No one should be subject to discrimination on the job, including for reasons of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Currently, there are no workplace protections at the state or federal level for sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. Consistent polling shows that 90% of Virginians believe that gays and lesbians should have the right to work for the government without discrimination.
“All Virginians deserve equal opportunity, fairness and justice,” Ebbin said. “The Commonwealth must remain competitive and now is the time to move forward and protect our state workers.”
Statewide LGBT advocacy organization Equality Virginia and 10 other organizations have lent their support to SB 701 including: ProgressVA, Virginia Organizing, Mothers & Others of Virginia, People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, AARP Virginia, Black Transmen Inc., Ladies of the Blue Ridge – Transgender Alliance, Roanoke Pride Inc., Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, and LGBT Democrats of Virginia.
According to Equality Virginia, the General Assembly has received more than 11,235 constituent messages in support of this piece of legislation.
“This is an amazing response we’ve seen from Virginians in favor of protecting our state employees,” James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, said. “We hope every senator and delegate is listening to their constituents on this issue.”
Of Virginia’s top 25 private employers, 80 percent have policies protecting at least sexual orientation and sixty percent also protect gender identity and expression. Top employers with fully inclusive protections include Capital One, Wal-mart, Target, Wells Fargo, and Dominion Resources. These businesses understand that protecting LGBT employees helps in recruiting and retaining top talent and promoting a productive work environment.
“This shows the state it should do for its employees what these businesses do for theirs,” Ebbin said.
SB 701 awaits a vote in the General Laws and Technology Committee on Monday, Jan. 21.
Senate Patrons: A. Donald McEachin (chief patron), Adam P. Ebbin (chief patron), Kenneth C. Alexander, George L. Barker, R. Creigh Deeds, John S. Edwards, Barbara A. Favola, Mark R. Herring, Janet D. Howell, Mamie E. Locke, David W. Marsden, Henry L. Marsh III, John C. Miller, Ralph S. Northam, Phillip P. Puckett, Linda T. Puller, Richard L. Saslaw (17 total)
House Patrons: Luke E. Torian, Mamye E. BaCote, Robert H. Brink, David L. Bulova, Betsy B. Carr, Rosalyn R. Dance, Eileen Filler-Corn, Charniele L. Herring, Daun Hester, Patrick A. Hope, Mark L. Keam, Kaye Kory, K. Rob Krupicka, Lynwood W. Lewis, Jr., Alfonso H. Lopez, Jennifer L. McClellan, Delores L. McQuinn, Joseph D. Morrissey, Kenneth R. Plum, Thomas Davis Rust, James M. Scott, Mark D. Sickles, Lionell Spruill, Sr., Scott A. Surovell, David J. Toscano, Roslyn C. Tyler, Jeion A. Ward, R. Lee Ware, Jr., Vivian E. Watts, Joseph R. Yost (29 total)