April 13, 2020 at 7:34 pm EDT | by Philip Van Slooten
Equality Virginia praises Northam for signing LGBTQ rights bills
decriminalization, gay news, Washington Blade
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed several LGBTQ rights bills into law ahead of Saturday’s deadline. They include measures that repeal the state’s statutory same-sex marriage ban and extend rights to transgender Virginians.

Northam signed state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas)’s bill that prohibits health insurance companies from discriminating against trans patients and state Del. Joseph Lindsey’s (D-Norfolk) bill that allows voters to cast a ballot without showing a photo ID.

Lindsey’s bill eases difficulties faced by trans voters.

Northam signed state Sen. Adam Ebbin’s (D-Alexandria) bill officially repealing Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage. Northam also signed state Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-Loudoun County) and state Del. Marcus Simon’s (D-Falls Church) bills that ease requirements for updating a birth certificate’s gender marker.

Northam on Saturday signed the Virginia Values Act, which adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s nondiscrimination law. He has also signed bills that ensure fair treatment of trans public school students, expand Virginia’s hate crimes law to include LGBTQ people and enable Virginians to select “non-binary” on driver’s license applications.

“This General Assembly session was historic and life-changing for Virginia’s LGBT community,” said Equality Virginia’s website, noting the Democrat-controlled General Assembly signed 16 LGBTQ rights bills during the 2020 legislative session.            

“Governor Northam has been a longtime, vocal ally of the LGBTQ community and we are grateful to him for signing over a dozen pro-equality bills into law this year,” said Equality Virginia Executive Director Vee Lamneck in a statement to the Washington Blade.

The new laws go into effect July 1.

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