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McDonnell workplace order lacks gay protections



Virginia LGBT rights supporters are hoping pending legislation will address a hole in the recent workplace protections order issued by Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell — although they aren’t optimistic about the bill’s prospects.

On Feb. 5, McDonnell issued an executive order barring bias against state workers on the basis of “race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, political affiliation, or against otherwise qualified persons with disabilities.” The order also protects veterans.

But one glaring omission from the order is sexual orientation. Former Democratic Govs. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine included protections for gays as part of similar executive orders they issued during their tenures in the governor’s mansion.

McDonnell’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on why protections for gay workers were omitted from the order.

The lack of protections based on sexual orientation in McDonnell’s order didn’t come as a surprise to many gay Virginians. During his campaign, McDonnell said he wouldn’t renew the protections because he believed they were unconstitutional. He cited the Virginia General Assembly’s failure to pass legislation that would have made the protections permanent as part of his rationale for the omission.

McDonnell said during his campaign that he doesn’t believe the government should discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, but he never specified how he would protect gay state workers from such bias.

David Lampo, vice president of the Virginia Log Cabin Republicans, said “we can only assume” that McDonnell didn’t include gays in his order because “it’s a sincere belief” that such protections are unconstitutional.

But Lampo said if McDonnell is committed to non-discrimination against gays, as he stated during his campaign, the governor should push for legislation that would provide protections in lieu of administrative action.

“[Senate Bill] 66 was passed by the Senate and has come over to the House, and will be voted on in the House at some point of the next week or two,” he said. “So what we want him to do is either to endorse that bill or say that he’ll sign it if comes before him.”

Terry Mansberger, president of the Virginia Partisans, a LGBT Democratic group, also said McDonnell’s failure to include the protections as part of his order means the governor should push for passage of legislation.

“If you won’t put it in there because you believe it should be in the code, well then, step up and make it part of Virginia law like most of the other states have done and bring Virginia into modern times,” Mansberger said.

The legislation passed earlier this month by the Virginia Senate and sponsored by Sen. A. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) is pending in the House. A similar version of the legislation introduced by Del. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), the only openly gay lawmaker in the Virginia General Assembly, was killed earlier this month in subcommittee.

Although the bill passed in the Democratic-controlled Senate, Ebbin said he’s not optimistic about the bill’s chances in the Republican-controlled House.

“It’s a great challenge since my version has failed, but never say never,” he said. “I’m not optimistic that it’ll pass, but the fact it’s passed the full Senate is notable.”

Ebbin said he envisions passage of the legislation as a multi-year effort and that advocates need to press ahead toward the goal despite setbacks to succeed.



Delmarva Pride to feature drag, dancing, and more this weekend

Easton and Cambridge to host events



A scene from Delmarva Pride. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Delmarva Peninsula will hold its annual Pride celebration this weekend, including drag shows, a festival, and much more. 

The Delmarva Pride Center will put on the annual Pride celebration starting on Friday, June 14, and it will go until Sunday to celebrate queer love and acceptance in Delmarva.  

The weekend kicks off on Friday with a free legal clinic in partnership with FreeState Justice at the Academy Art Museum, 106 South St., Easton, Md. Free legal services including name and gender marker changes, criminal record expungements, and peace and protection orders are just some of the services being offered. For more information visit

Then on Friday night, the third annual Pride Drag Show will be at the Avalon Theatre, 40 E Dover St., in Easton. Bring your cash as four drag queens and host Miranda Bryant put on the fundraising show, where 100% of ticket sales go to the Delmarva Pride Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and performance begins at 7 p.m. For tickets visit

On Saturday there will be the Pride festival from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at  S. Harrison and E. Dover Street, in Easton. This free community festival will include vendors, live performances, and more. 

Saturday night the party gets going as Delmarva Pride will host its 2024 Pride Dance. There will be a DJ and drinks available for purchase. This event is for 18 and up and will include a cash bar for anyone 21 and up. No tickets are required. 

To round out your Pride weekend, on Sunday the Delmarva Pride Brunch will be held at ArtBar 2.0, 420b Race St. in Cambridge, Md. Tickets include food, access to the mimosa bar, and a drag performance. Tickets are available here

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People of Pride: Five Marylanders making a difference in the LGBTQ+ community

Baltimore Pride is this weekend



Jabari Lyles poses for a portrait in East Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore on June 10, 2024. (Photo by Jessica Gallagher/The Baltimore Banner)

By JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV | One hosts movie nights, karaoke and other events that provide a safe space for LGBTQ people. Another has become a sounding board for customers at his gay bar dealing with pressures of the outside world. And a third beats the pavement to promote political awareness about LGBTQ issues.

These are just some of the things five Baltimoreans the Baltimore Banner is profiling in honor of Baltimore Pride Month are doing in the fight for visibility, support and acceptance of their peers.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Delaware’s Sussex Pride launches free statewide HIV, STI testing

Special program honors National HIV Testing Day on June 27



Each year on June 27, people across the United States are encouraged to get tested for HIV. This year for Delawareans, it’s easier than ever.

Sussex Pride has partnered with STDCheck to offer free HIV and syphilis testing everywhere in Delaware. There are more than 20 locations across the state, making it simple to find a testing center.  

David Mariner, executive director of Sussex Pride, told the Blade, “We are thrilled with this new partnership with STDcheck. The ultimate goal is to empower individuals with knowledge about their HIV status, provide necessary support, and facilitate early intervention to improve health outcomes in our state.”

Finding a testing center, getting tested, and getting results is simple. Start by finding a lab near you using this link ( Then call STDcheck at 800-456-2323 and request a free Sussex Pride HIV and/or syphilis test. Make sure to mention Sussex Pride in the call to get the test for free. Then schedule a time and get tested. 

“If you are HIV positive, the sooner you know, the better,” Mariner added. “Early and sustained treatment can help you live a long and healthy life. It can also help protect others.”

This special program is in honor of National HIV Testing Day, created in 1995 to highlight the lifesaving impact of HIV testing. HIV has historically had a disproportionate effect on the LGBTQ community. According to the CDC, 70% of all new cases of HIV in 2021 were among gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men.

The CDC’s theme for this year’s HIV testing day is “Level up your self-love: check your status.” The theme emphasizes, “valuing yourself, showing yourself compassion and respect, and honoring your health needs with self-love,” and the best way to do that is to test.

For more information on Sussex Pride’s testing program visit and for more information on HIV visit

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