It’s still legal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity to Virginia after a bill hoping to expand the state’s Human Rights act failed in a House subcommittee today.
HB 2129 aimed to add the two classes to the list that is already protected in housing, public accommodation and employment. Currently, it is legal to fire or not hire someone because of how they identify or who they love.
Submitted by Del. Mark Levine, one of the state’s two openly gay Delegates, the bill has been submitted and failed in the past. Last year’s bill was submitted by Del. Kory and met the same end as many other LGBTQ bills, the Codes Commission, which effectively killed both pro and anti-LGBTQ legislation for 2016.
“To paraphrase Martin Luther King, we should be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin,” said Del. Levine said, author of the bill this session. “And I daresay Dr. King would agree, nor by religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Del. Levine noted that the proposal of his bill aligns with a growing trend in other states.
“When you employ someone, it should be based on the job that they do. They do a good job, employ them. If they don’t do a good job, fire them,” Del. Levine said. “It should not be based on their race or religion, or their sex, or any of these irrelevant categories. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not relevant in the place of employment.”
While a lack of protections might more obviously impact those who identify as LGBTQ, it also hurts the state as a whole. Human Rights Campaign offers report cards for states every year and Virginia continues to lag behind many other states, scoring a 46 out of 100, because of its lack of protections at the state level, among other issues.