ACLU urges Governor McAuliffe to veto ‘religious freedom’ bills
While much of the bad (and good) LGBTQ-related legislation failed to make it to Governor McAuliffe’s desk this year, two matching bills which advocates believe would legalize discrimination against same-sex couples are waiting to be vetoes, or signed, as promised.
McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy told GayRVA earlier this year that the Governor “will veto any bill that restricts the rights of Virginians based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” and McAuliffe has delivered on that promise in years past. But the VA ACLU, who is also representing Gavin Grimm in his fight against Gloucester County’s anti-transgender bathroom bill, sent out a letter yesterday asking what’s taking him so long this time around.
“We must continue to reject efforts to use religion as a justification to discriminate against anyone,” said ACLU-VA Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga. “Freedom of religion is not the freedom to impose your religion on anyone, nor the freedom to be accorded special protections not accorded other beliefs. she added.
The two matching House and Senate bills, SB 1324 and HB 2025, are considered “religious freedom” legislation because they, as advocates put it, would protect people and organizations that oppose same-sex marriages, giving them the right to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples. Both bills passed the House and Senate along party lines, though neither should have enough votes to override the veto if either chamber tries.
The ACLU-VA, along with Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington sent the letter yesterdaay, and they also wondered why he hasn’t vetoed other legislation dealing with penalizing peaceful protests and another dealing with altering parents of students when schools teach material that includes “sexually explicit content.”
Requests to confirm the Governor’s plans to veto the LGBTQ bills were not returned by press time.
McAuliffe has vetoed other legislation so far this year, including a bill that would have cut funding to Planned Parenthood and two other bills, one dealing with gun access and another so called “Tebow” bill which would allow homeschooled kids to play on public school sports teams. All these vetoes happened in late February.
Editor’s note: The VA ACLU reached out to GayRVA and asked us to clarify our headline – the Civil rights group didn’t specifically ask “why have you not vetoed this bill yet” – an interpretation we made at GayRVA which could be misconstrued. We’ve since updated the headline, though no text of the story was altered for this edit. Thanks for reading
BREAKING: Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoes ‘religious freedom’ legislation, calls them “bad for business”
“We need only look at the damage these types of laws are doing in other states to understand the harm this bill could bring to our Commonwealth and its economy.March 23, 2017
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