January 23, 2017 at 11:25 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Va. Senate committee approves two pro-LGBT bills

Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade

Members of a Virginia Senate committee on Jan. 23, 2017, approved two pro-LGBT bills. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A Virginia Senate committee on Monday approved two pro-LGBT bills.

The Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology approved state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria)’s Senate Bill 783, which would ban discrimination against state employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity, by a 12-3 vote margin. State Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-Loudoun County)’s Senate Bill 822, which would add LGBT-specific protections to the Virginia Fair Housing Law, passed by an 11-3 vote margin.

Both bills will now go before the full Senate.

“A person’s sexual orientation and gender identity have nothing to do with whether that person will be a good tenant or a competent employee,” said Lieutenant Gov. Ralph Northam in a statement. “No Virginian should be pushed out of their home or their job because of who they are or who they love. I applaud the Senate committee for advancing policies to ensure Virginia is open and welcoming to all.”

Monday’s vote took place four days after a Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee killed state Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William County)’s bill that would have banned transgender people from using public bathrooms based on their gender identity.

GayRVA reported the subcommittee on Jan. 19 tabled Marshall’s House Bill 2011, which would have prevented school boards from adding sexual orientation and gender identity to their nondiscrimination policies.

Va. House subcommittee approves religious freedom bill

The same subcommittee by a 4-2 vote margin approved state Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper)’s House Bill 2025, which would prohibit the state from punishing anyone who refuses to officiate a same-sex marriage if it violates their religious beliefs. Gay RVA also reported the subcommittee killed state Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria)’s House Bill 2129 that would have added sexual orientation and gender identity to Virginia’s anti-discrimination law.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe earlier this month signed an executive order banning anti-LGBT discrimination among state employees, contractors and subcontractors. The first executive order that he signed upon taking office in 2014 banned discrimination against LGBT state employees.

Terry McAuliffe, Richmond, Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade

The first executive order that Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued upon taking office in 2014 banned anti-LGBT discrimination against state employees. (Photo by Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

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

  • Brian’s Ions

    LGBT rights progress in the Commonwealth is slow, but it continues. If it weren’t for the persistence and everyday, persuasive efforts of LGBT civil rights champions like Ebbin, Wexton and Northam, there would be no progress at all.

    Kudos to each of them AND their unsung allies in Richmond. And now, fellow LGBT civil rights champ, Donald McEachin can keep lending a hand from DC and Capitol Hill…
    RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH/ OPINION
    **New Rep. Donald McEachin elevates congressional standards**
    http://www.richmond.com/opinion/our-opinion/article_9766369a-27de-52a1-826a-9f1081e88b43.html

    Preaching to the choir doesn’t move the needle much. Artful, successful politics is all about finding common ground so our opponents feel comfortable voting for policy and laws promoting LGBT fairness and justice.

    These LGBT-rights legislators work their craft well. Every LGBT resident and stakeholder in Virginia ought to be grateful.
    .
    ——
    \The Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology approved state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria)’s Senate Bill 783, which would ban discrimination against state employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity, by a 12-3 vote margin. State Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-Loudoun County)’s Senate Bill 822, which would add LGBT-specific protections to the Virginia Fair Housing Law, passed by an 11-3 vote margin.//

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