Lawmakers voted to send Senate Bills 12 and 67 to the Virginia Code Commission.
SB 12, which state Sens. A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico County) and Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) introduced late last year, would have banned discrimination against state employees based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. It would have codifed into law an executive order that Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued shortly after taking office in 2014.
“I am extremely disappointed at this precipitous action by a House subcommittee,” McEachin told the Washington Blade after the vote. “The bill didn’t even get a fair hearing. But, more importantly, many Virginians are left all too vulnerable, subject to discrimination and bigotry. This is unacceptable. Employment and promotion should be based on job performance not on any other characteristic.”
Ebbin also criticized members of the subcommittee.
“The subcommittee hid behind parliamentary procedures rather than be held accountable for their prejudices,” said the gay Alexandria Democrat.
State Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-Loudoun County) introduced SB 67, which would have added gender identity and expression to the Virginia Housing Law.
The Virginia Senate on Jan. 29 approved Wexton’s bill and SB 12.
“[Equality Virginia] does not believe that either of these substantive bills will be taken up by the Code Commission,” said Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish on Thursday. “But we do look forward to a definitive ruling this year so that these important bills, which enjoy broad bipartisan support in the Senate, will receive a proper hearing in the House of Delegates.”