April 22, 2016 at 11:44 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Virginia Senate fails to override religious freedom bill veto

Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade

Members of the Virginia Senate on April 21, 2016, failed to override Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s veto of a controversial religious freedom bill. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Virginia Senate on Thursday failed to override Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s veto of a religious freedom bill that critics said would have allowed anti-LGBT discrimination.

GayRVA reported that state Sen. Charles Carrico (R-Galax), who introduced Senate Bill 41, defended his measure before the vote.

“This bill is a[n] attempt to protect pastors from going against things that they believe are of a deeply held religious belief,” said the Galax Republican, according to GayRVA. “Unlike some of the things the governor is pointing out happening in other states, this is looking at the mere fact that a pastor who believes a marriage is between one man and one woman, and has doctrinal and religious beliefs within their religious organization, that they can and will be protect from criminal or civil prosecution and strengthens what we agree should be already constitutionally protected.”

McAuliffe vetoed SB 41 on March 30.

The governor in a statement described the bill as “nothing more than an attempt to stigmatize.”

“This legislation is also bad for business and creates roadblocks as we try to build the new Virginia economy,” said McAuliffe. “Businesses and job creators do not want to locate or do business in states that appear more concerned with demonizing people than with creating a strong business climate.”

Family Foundation of Virginia President Victoria Cobb criticized McAuliffe for vetoing SB 41.

“It is unfortunate that Governor McAuliffe is so willing to discriminate against people of faith who simply disagree with the secular left’s sexual dogma,” said Cobb in a statement.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant earlier this month signed a sweeping religious freedom bill that sparked outrage among LGBT rights advocates in the Magnolia State and across the country. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on March 28 announced that he would veto a similar bill.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory last month signed House Bill 2, which prohibits transgender people from using public restrooms that are consistent with their gender identity and bans municipalities from enacting LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances.

The controversial law has sparked calls to boycott the Tarheel State, which borders Virginia. The British Foreign Office earlier this week issued an advisory that warns travelers about House Bill 2 and Mississippi’s religious freedom law.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • GayEGO

    It is more unfortunate that Victoria Cobb doesn’t understand that we are stopping discrimination by religious people who are forcing their beliefs outside their religions. When they have civil jobs paid for by taxpaying citizens they must provide the services or remove themselves from their jobs if they are unable to because of their religious beliefs.

  • Audit Uscirf

    Federal Intl Religious Freedom Act IRFA is as bad as state laws because IRFA outsources religious-freedom to govt commission called USCIRF. Instead of Courts, USCIRF acts as prosecutor, judge and jury. Far worse, USCIRF is filled with representative of Church, Anti-Gay& career politicians. This dangerous cocktail of religion & politics causes conflict of interest and dishonest reporting favoring one religion over other violating establishment clause.
    There is a prima facie case against USCIRF violating US Supreme Court’s Lemon Test:-
    • Seeking excessive govt entanglement in religious affairs globally.
    • Religious figures influencing US foreign policy.
    • Favor one religion over other.
    • No secular purpose.
    • It creates a perception in the mind of a reasonable observer that the government is endorsing religion.
    Few facts:
    1) Event: Sexual abuse of 20+ kids in India. US Dept of State 2008 Religious Freedom report paints Pastor Jacob John as innocent & vilified complainant.
    Fact: Pastor John Jacob faces charges of abusing 53 kids. 1 child is pregnant and 4 children died.
    2)Event: Attack on Hindu Monastery,Orissa,India: Massacre of 5 ppl incl 82yrold Monk, Woman & Children
    USCIRF portrayal: USCIRF Villifies 82yrold Monk. Defend accused & doubt court judgement without providing any facts.
    Fact: Court found 7 Christians, linked with maoist terror group, guilty of Jalespesta Hindu Massacre.
    3) Event: Tripura National liberation front, a christian terror group in india, attacks hindu ashram and kills head monk Swami Shanti Kali. All 18 branches of Shanti Kali Mission were forcibly closed.
    USCIRF coverage: none

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