February 23, 2018 at 3:24 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Va. House kills nondiscrimination amendment to budget bill

Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade

Members of the Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates on Feb. 22, 2018, killed a proposed amendment to the House budget bill that would have added sexual orientation and gender identity to its nondiscrimination provision. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Members of the Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates on Thursday killed a proposed amendment to the House budget bill that would have added sexual orientation and gender identity to its nondiscrimination provision.

Joseph Papa of Equality Virginia pointed out to the Washington Blade the proposed amendment would have codified into law Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive order that bans discrimination against LGBT state employees.

The proposed amendment failed by a 52-48 vote margin, with all of the chamber’s Republicans opposing it.

State Del. Mark Keam (D-Fairfax County) — who supports LGBT rights in the General Assembly — also voted against the proposed amendment. The Fairfax County Democrat in a statement later said his vote was a mistake.

“I screwed up,” said Kean on his Twitter page. “For nine years in @VAHouse have ALWAYS voted for equality and against discrimination. Sorry to have surprised my @VAHouseDems colleagues.”

State Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) in her own tweet described Keam as “a champion for equality.”

“We all make mistakes,” wrote Roem, using the hashtag #oops. “Del. Keam is a good friend and an incredible colleague.”

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

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