January 29, 2015 at 4:55 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Va. House subcommittee vetoes ‘conscience clause’ bill

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A Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee on Thursday killed a so-called “conscience clause” bill. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee on Thursday killed a so-called “conscience clause” bill that would have allowed state licensed or accredited business owners to deny service to someone based on their religious beliefs.

House Bill 1414, which state Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William County) introduced last month, specifically cited “same-sex ‘marriage’ or homosexual behavior.”

“Equality Virginia applauds the subcommittee for voting against this discriminatory and destructive bill,” said James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, a statewide LGBT advocacy group. “This bill would have hurt too many people, damaged our business climate, and highlighted Virginia as a hostile and unwelcoming place to live and work. The majority of Virginians agree that discrimination against LGBT people is wrong, and thankfully today’s vote reflects that opinion.”

Lawmakers tabled HB 1414 on the same day that Equality Virginia, Equality North Carolina and South Carolina Equality officially launched a campaign designed to highlight LGBT-friendly businesses.

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

1 Comment
  • There is no teeth to the criticism of this bill. Most states have conscience clauses, for example, that allow physicians to opt out of performing abortions. In this case, the bill is very specific regarding samesex marriage or homosexual behavior, and clearly there are plenty of options available (if the bill passed) for those who are seeking to get married, find a photographer or baker for their wedding cake, photos, etc. This looks a lot more to me like rubbing the noses of Christians in the dirt than it does a win for "equality."

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