Parrish told reporters during a conference call that Northam and Equality Virginia have a “shared vision of Virginia that is free from discrimination.” Parrish also noted the lieutenant governor has stood “side-by-side with our community every day” since he became a member of the Virginia Senate in 2008.
“He has consistently been a partner in our work,” said Parrish.
Northam in 2015 cast the tie-breaking vote in the state Senate that allowed the passage of a bill that sought to ban discrimination against state and local government employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Northam during the conference call applauded Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Attorney General Mark Herring for their efforts in support of the extension of marriage rights to same-sex couples in Virginia. Northam has also repeatedly criticized North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which banned transgender people from using public bathrooms that are consistent with their gender identity and prohibited municipalities from enacting LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination measures.
“We have worked very hard to promote equality in Virginia as well as social justice,” Northam told reporters.
Virginia’s statewide anti-discrimination law does not include sexual orientation or gender identity.
Northam conceded anti-LGBT discrimination remains a problem in Virginia. He also said his administration “will not tolerate” any proposed legislation that he said would seek to discriminate against LGBT Virginians.
“We will always welcome people to the commonwealth of Virginia,” said Northam. “Our door will be open.”
Northam running against Tom Perriello in Democratic primary
Northam is running against former Congressman Tom Perriello in the Democratic primary that will take place on June 13. Former Republican National Committee Chair Ed Gillespie is among the GOP candidates who are vying to succeed McAuliffe.
“There’s several candidates out there who have a vision of the commonwealth that includes LGBT people,” Parrish told the Washington Blade during Tuesday’s conference call in response to a question about why the Equality Virginia PAC chose to endorse Northam over Perriello. “We also have a past with the lieutenant governor.”
“We’ve seen him day in and day out stand side-by-side with us to make the commonwealth better for LGBT people,” added Parrish.
Equality Virginia’s PAC on Tuesday also endorsed Danica Roem, a transgender journalist who is challenging state Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince Willam County) in the 13th House District.