February 18, 2016 at 5:33 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Va. House subcommittee kills anti-discrimination bills

Terry Stone, gay news, Washington Blade

A Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee on Feb. 18, 2016, moved to kill two bills that would have banned discrimination against LGBT Virginians. (Photo by torbakhopper; courtesy Flickr)

A Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee on Thursday moved to kill two bills that would have banned discrimination against LGBT Virginians.

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.”

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

  • I wonder how much money the churches are paying these politicians?

  • Despite how far some of us may think we’ve come we still can’t get this fundamental type of legislation passed in a state like Virginia while religious freedom laws move forward nationally. Social conservatives, AKA, the Republican party continues to oppose our freedom and anything that would promote our welfare.

    All the more reason to stop being complacent and taking your rights for granted assuming being GLBT doesn’t matter anymore. We still aren’t accepted by many. All the more reason not to vote Republican and fight hard to get a Democrat in the White House again. They aren’t perfect but we at least we know we can expect some fundamental support unlike from the GOP with the like of Cruz, Rubio and even Trump making it clear they will seek to reverse our gains.

    The SCOTUS is in play with Scalia gone and Congressional Republicans adamant on not letting Obama get an appointment. Instead they bank on a GOP President putting someone as bad if not worse than Obama. Also consider that there could be other court vacancies too. Most of our victories to date have been thanks to the SCOTUS in particular Justice Kennedy. We can’t afford to lose him and get something worse in his place. Remember how Thurgood Marshall’s seat went to Clearance Thomas! The cultural wars are far from over!

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