Bob Marshall has THREE bills aiming to undo or block LGBTQ progress this session
Less than a week into the 2017 legislative, conservative Manassas Delegate Bob Marshall has submitted a total of three bills aiming to make it legal to discriminate against transgender and LGB folks.
His newest addition, HB2011 hopes to define ones gender as how they were identified at birth and specifies “the mere separation of the sexes by such entity [the State] based on such differences shall not constitute discrimination.”
The defense of this language, according to Marshall, comes from Article I, Section 11 of the Constitution of Virginia which details what classes the state cannot discriminate against, including someones religious conviction, race, color, sex, or national origin… “except that the mere separation of the sexes shall not be considered discrimination.”
Marshall has mentioned this theory before, stating that bathroom use should be limited to the labeled sex as protected by this measure. However it fails to realize when trans people identify as the gender they currently identify with. IE, a transgender man is a man, a trans woman is a woman, meaning their sex is not up for debate, nor is it in question.
But his aim to defined gender at birth does complicate things, even as trans folks go through the expensive legal process of changing gender markers on their birth certificates and state IDs.
HB2011 also deals with an issue he tried to get involved in last year, limiting school boards from passing inclusive non-discrimination policies. State law protects against “race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, national origin, age, marital status, or disability” and, under the Dillon Rule, according to Marshall, they shouldn’t be allowed to add sexual orientation or gender identity.
He’s fought in places like Fairfax County where such policies have been put into place, but State AG Mark Herring put out a legal opinion supporting such moves because of federal connections to school systems, and his attempts to control school boards last year was shot down as by fellow conservatives.
“If your bill is just the Dillon rule, how can you make a law that is already a law?” Del. Dave Albo, (R-42) asked Marshall during last year’s session, before shutting down the bill.
The Dillon Rule limits localities to only create powers given to them by the state, meaning no protections can be added – a similar issue was taken up in North Carolina, also a Dillon Rule state, where HB2 limited the creation of such protections after Charlotte added them at the city level.
And outside the legislative session, Virginia courts have already thrown out a law suit by parents attempting to overturn Fairfax County’s policies.
“My job is to preserve the common good and respond to the will of my constituents,” Marshall said at a press conference earlier this week defending a similar bill, HB 1612, which not only defines gender as what is identified at birth, it also limits bathroom use to that gender and forces principals to out gender nonconforming students to their parents. “From what I have experienced, there is very little support for and much more opposition, to allowing students of the opposite sex who may dress or identify as the opposite sex to use these private facilities indiscriminately.”
“Parents who want to preserve the safety of their children are acting out of love, not bigotry,” he said.
But the transgender woman who aims to replace Marshall in the upcoming 2017 election, 32-year-old Manassas resident Danica Roem, thinks this is another case of Marshall aiming to restrict her rights.
“If a delegate who actually had a track record in the last year of passing multiple pieces of legislation introduced this, I might be worried,” she said. “But given Del. Marshall’s 1-for-41 performance in 2016, I look at this as just another waste of our tax dollars and time when he won’t focus on fixing Route 28, the No. 1 problem affecting the residents of the 13th District.”
Roem has been pointing to congestion in Northern Virginia as her top priority this election, however Marshall’s anti-LGBTQ agenda is also a thorn in her side.
And for LGBTQ teachers who reside in counties that have these policies, it’s a reassuring move to know they can’t be fired for who they love or how they identify.
“HB2011 is designed to allow school boards to discriminate against transgender kids in any aspect of their education,” said Robert Norris Rigby, a gay Fairfax County teacher who has advocated for expanded rights in his local system with his group FCPS Pride. “If Bob Marshall were to meet and get to know my students, he would learn that trans boys are real boys and trans girls are just as good as all girls. Transgender kids deserve to be safe and welcome in their schools like other children; Marshall’s proposal would prevent that.”
But Marshall wasn’t done there, and this one slipped even under our radar. It appears, the day Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order requiring all contractors with the state to have LGBTQ inclusive nondiscrimination policies, Marshall submitted a bill to force the opposite.
HB 1667 “Prohibits agencies of the Commonwealth… from requiring any contractor entering into a public contract to agree to additional nondiscrimination provisions with respect to gender identity or sexual orientation.” The bill also expands protections to businesses that don’t have these policies meaning they can’t be sued if they fire someone for being LGBTQ.
McAuliffe’s EO was an extension of a policy signed by the Obama Administration in July 2014 which required federal contractors to expand their nondiscrimination policies.
“ authorizes discrimination by all public contractors and immunizes all private companies and non-profit organizations and their employees from liability for discriminating against and denying benefits or services to people based on their gender identity or sexual orientation,” wrote the Virginia ACLU on their Richmond Sunlight page about this bill.
And McAuliffe defended the measure when he signed it saying “Virginia is home to the best state workforce in the country and this policy will ensure there is no question that all Virginians are to receive the full benefits of their citizenship, without regard to their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
James Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia, echoed McAuliffe saying the policy was good business for a state that already stands out as a great place to work and play. “…Taxpayers should expect that their money will not be used to support organizations that discriminate.”
All of Marshall’s bills mentioned here will be tracked by GayRVA during the coming weeks. We’ll update you as they work their way through the legislative process.
“I’m not letting his misogyny define me, define my daughter or define my community.”April 21, 2017
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