March 5, 2020 at 9:11 pm EST | by Philip Van Slooten
Va. governor signs three LGBTQ bills into law
decriminalization, gay news, Washington Blade
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday signed three pro-LGBTQ measures into law.

House Bill 145 sponsored by state Del. Marcus Simon (D-Falls Church), and Senate Bill 161 sponsored by state Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-Loudoun County) require the Department of Education to develop model policies ensuring transgender students are treated fairly, respectfully and according to best practices.

“All Virginia students deserve to learn in a safe, healthy, and welcoming environment,” said Boysko in press release. “I was proud to carry this incredibly important bill, and I’m thrilled to see it signed into law.”

School boards must now adopt such policies for the 2021-2022 school year.

Northam also signed a bill expanding the definition of a hate crime to include sexual orientation and gender identification among other protected classes into law. The bill was sponsored by state Del. Rip Sullivan (D-Fairfax County).

“Attacking someone because of who they are, who they love, or where they’re from is wrong,” said Northam. “Those actions are intended to send a chilling message that a person is not welcome, and that is exactly the opposite of what we stand for in Virginia. Hate has no place here. I am proud to sign this bill.”

State Del. Danica Roem’s (D-Manassas) legislation allowing localities to ban discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, credit, or education based on sexual orientation or gender identity also passed into law.

“No matter where in the commonwealth you live, you should be free from discrimination,” said Virginia’s first openly trans delegate. “Allowing localities to include sexual orientation and gender identity in their nondiscrimination policies means they can make a statement of affirmation about their values at the local level while we continue to make Virginia a more inclusive commonwealth statewide.”

She added, “I’m proud both localities I represent have leaders who are eager to take action based on this legislation and thank the governor for signing this bill into law.”

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