BREAKING: Vague anti-same-sex marriage bill passes Virginia House committee
A bill activists have decried as a thinly veiled attempt to discriminate agianst LGBTQs passed a House committee today.
The bill passed 14-7 (we’ll update the vote in the full version of the piece).
HB2025, Submitted by Delegate Nicholas J. (Top image, middle – R -30, Culpepper), offers a shield to any “person” from punishment from the state, civil or otherwise, if they deny services in a same-sex marriage.
Known as a solemnization bill, it defines a “person” as a “religious organization, organization supervised or controlled by or operated in connection with a religious organization, individual employed by a religious organization while acting in the scope of his paid or volunteer employment, successor, representative, agent, agency, or instrumentality of any of the foregoing or clergy member or minister.”
In layman’s terms, it aims to protect pastors and other faith leaders in churches from civil or criminal punishment if they deny services to same-sex couples. However the bill was also interpreted by some activists to include other faith-based organizations like church run schools or hospitals, giving them the ability to refuse visitation rights by same-sex couples, or deny the children of same-sex parents in parochial programs.
A similar bill was submitted last year, and was submitted again this year on the Senate-side by Sen. Charles Carrico. Carrico, a retired police officer from Galax, VA, passed the House and Senate in 2016 but was vetoed by Gov. McAuliffe.
“Any legitimate protections afforded by [Carrico's bill] are duplicative of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States;” wrote McAuliffe in a statement sent out after vetoing the bill in late March 2016. He also pointed to Virginia’s long-held Religious Freedoms Act which already allows religious leaders and orgs like priests and churches to deny services if it violates their beliefs.
Criticism has followed solemnization bills as they often repeat language already present in state’s religious freedom bills, but the steps to slow LGBTQ-progress in ways like this are a priority for the GOP as of their 2016 presidential platform.
Today’s success was unsurprising considering Carrico’s win last year. Though his Senate version hasn’t made it to full committee yet, the hearing for that bill is expected in the next week.
This is a BREAKING version of this story and it will be update when more information becomes available.
“I’m not letting his misogyny define me, define my daughter or define my community.”April 21, 2017
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