The Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology approved state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria)’s Senate Bill 783, which would ban discrimination against state employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity, by a 12-3 vote margin. State Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-Loudoun County)’s Senate Bill 822, which would add LGBT-specific protections to the Virginia Fair Housing Law, passed by an 11-3 vote margin.
Both bills will now go before the full Senate.
“A person’s sexual orientation and gender identity have nothing to do with whether that person will be a good tenant or a competent employee,” said Lieutenant Gov. Ralph Northam in a statement. “No Virginian should be pushed out of their home or their job because of who they are or who they love. I applaud the Senate committee for advancing policies to ensure Virginia is open and welcoming to all.”
Monday’s vote took place four days after a Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee killed state Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William County)’s bill that would have banned transgender people from using public bathrooms based on their gender identity.
GayRVA reported the subcommittee on Jan. 19 tabled Marshall’s House Bill 2011, which would have prevented school boards from adding sexual orientation and gender identity to their nondiscrimination policies.
Va. House subcommittee approves religious freedom bill
The same subcommittee by a 4-2 vote margin approved state Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper)’s House Bill 2025, which would prohibit the state from punishing anyone who refuses to officiate a same-sex marriage if it violates their religious beliefs. Gay RVA also reported the subcommittee killed state Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria)’s House Bill 2129 that would have added sexual orientation and gender identity to Virginia’s anti-discrimination law.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe earlier this month signed an executive order banning anti-LGBT discrimination among state employees, contractors and subcontractors. The first executive order that he signed upon taking office in 2014 banned discrimination against LGBT state employees.