Virginia politics is about to kick into high gear with the General Assembly convening on January 12. Watch these bills that impact LGBT equality bills during the session.
Anti-Bullying Responsibility Act (HB 1575) Cosponsored by Virginia’s only openly gay delegate, Adam Ebbin (D-49), and Delegate David Englin (D-45), this legislation would require bullying, harrassment, and intimidation to the codes of student conduct required of local school devisions, require schools to have specific procedures to separate victims and bullies, require teachers to be trained on bullying intervention, require reporting to superintendents, and make school officials responsible for implementing anti-bullying procedures in their local policy.
Bullying Protections & Victim Rights (HB 1576) Another Ebbin/Englin cosponsored bill would make bullying a class one misdemeanor, give victims the right to sue bullies, provide for expulsions, and require bully-related injuries to be reported to the Commonwealth Attorney.
Virginia Fairness & Justice Act (SB747) Senator Don McEachin’s bill adds sexual orientation as a protected class for state employees. The bill defines “sexual orientation” as a person’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, or gender identity or expression. The bill also expresses that “sexual orientation” shall not include any person’s attraction toward persons with whom sexual conduct would be illegal due to the age of the parties. Also should this bill become law, there would be no need for Delegate Joe Morrissey’s (D74) bill and Del. Bob Marshall’s (R-13) bill would be dead on arrival.
Prohibits Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation (HB1509) The House’s companion bill to Senator McEachin’s SB747 introduced by Delegate Jim Scott (D-53).
In a powerful OpEd written published last week, Delegate Mark D. Sickles came out as a gay and became Virginia’s second openly gay legislator. Titled “A marriage ruling that counts me in,” Del. Sickles, (D-Alexandria) wrote about the federal marriage ruling out of Norfolk, and compared the current marriage battle to the fight for interracial [...]