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Del. Bob Marshall’s bill to remove protections for LGBTQ teachers and students passes House subcommittee

AmyDavid | February 5, 2016

Virginia’s most infamous anti-LGBTQ legislator brought two bills before a House subcommittee yesterday. One faced a weird death at the hands of a yet-to-be-seen memo from GOP leadership, and the other was passed and heads to a full committee hearing next week.

Marshall’s HB 385 aims to stop school boards from passing protections from LGBTQ students and teachers, a move authorized by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring last March which has lead to Virginia Beach, Fairfax County and other school boards to pass such policies.

“The operative language states no political subdivision including a locality, a school board shall enact an ordinance or adopt a rule prohibiting discrimination in any field or basis,” Marshall said referring Virginia’s Dillion rule which denies any powers to localities unless granted to them by the General Assembly.

He also said it went against a six or seven attorney generals including a letter written in 1993 then Attorney General Steven Rosenthal Del. Fitz Callahan if Arlington County had authority to extend coverage of its human rights ordinance to cases involved discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“The Dillon rule was cited as an impediment to doing this,” Marshall said.

He cited a letter he wrote in 1997 to then AG Richard Kullen.

“I asked the question whether or not the board of supervisors may offer health insurance coverage to persons defined as eligible domestic partners to county employees,” he said. “AG Richard Cullen said, ‘No you can’t, Dillon Rule doesn’t allow it.”

Among a few other examples he also cited an opinion issued in 2002 by

In 2002, then-AG Republican Jerry Kilgore issued an opinion stating school boards had no right to add “sexual orientation” to the schools non-discrimination policy as the power was not given to them by the state’s elected officials.

The subcommittee voted in support of this bill 5-2.

A second bill from Marshall, HB 77, which aims to block protections added by the Federal Government after 2012 was also heard during Thursday’s meeting. Before the delegate could speak, Subcommittee Chair M. Keith Hodges (R- 98) told him this bill would be sent to the Code Commission along side several other pro and anti-LGBTQ bills.

According to Blue Virginia, ignoring protections offered from the Fed after 2012 would remove things like protections for transgender individuals through the Equal Opportunity Commission, and an Obama executive order which required federal contractors to have policies banning discrimination against sexual orientation or gender identity in their work place.

“Congress has not amended the civil rights laws of ’64 to include those words in the statute, these are interpretations,” Marshall said. “I think there are problems with the state of Virginia turning over their entire legislative authority to people in the federal bureaucracy whose names are unknown to any of us and whose actions won’t be found out for a couple of years.”

Marshall said the Equal Employment Commission and the Department of Education started equating the word “sex” with “sexual orientation” or “gender identity”.

“You have to ask yourself the question whether or not the civil rights advocacy of LGBTQ proponents is producing a shield for them or a sword for everybody else,” he said, taking a shot at LGBTQ advocates. “The mantle of civil rights advocates has been taken over by homosexual advocates.”

Marshall wrapped up by encouraging the subcommittee to rule on his proposed legislation to block federal protections.

“All I’m asking you do is you need to act on this now because Mr. Herring has the authority to go after these things in school, to go after work, after Catholic schools, for not conforming to this because are statutes reference the regulations and guidelines enacted after that point(2012),” he said.

This bill was sent to the Code Commission – read more about that here.

Voter Breakdown for HB 385:

YEAS–Hodges, Wright, Knight, Bell, Richard P., Leftwich–5.

NAYS–McQuinn, Aird–2.