Gov McAuliffe, Lt. Gov. Northam, AG Herring, and wealth of Senators and Delegates gather to support LGBTQ equality in Virginia
The three most powerful elected officials in Virginia, and a small army of Delegates and Senators, gathered at the Library of Virginia last night to show their support for LGBTQ equality in the commonwealth.
As part of Equality Virginia’s annual Lobbying Day, Gov. Terry McAullife, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, and AG Mark Herring all spoke about how and why the issues facing sexual minorities were important.
“We need to make sure Virginia is open and welcome to everyone,” said Gov. McAuliffe, a statement he’s often used to underline why the state needs to better support LGBTQs. He said the issues facing minority communities such as those before him, and the issues facing women, were key to helping “grow and diversify our economy.”
McAuliffe mentioned his first executive order when he came into office which granted protections to LGBTQ state employees, and congratulated Sen. Don McEachin, who’s bill SB 875, which would codify those protections, passed in the Senate earlier that day.
He also thanked Sen. Adam Ebbin and Delegate Marcus Simon for their legislation dealing with making the state code gender neutral. Ebbins bill also passed the Senate earlier that day.
“This fight has just started,” McAuliffe said, thanking Equality Virginia for the work they’ve done. “You never gave up on us and I’ll never give up on you.”
He said he was the first southern governor, and the third in history of the US, to perform a gay marriage, adding he had performed another same-sex wedding last weekend as well.
“So now I lead all Governors in america, Folks… and I’m just warming up,” joked Gov. McAuliffe. “So if anyone’s ready to get married, I’m read to go!”
Attorney General Mark Herring spoke about the success LGBTQ Virginians have had since the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was struck down in February of last year.
He said it was one year ago that night when he and his team were putting the finishing touches on their argument to end the ban.
“10 days later, we got a great opinion and we won,” he said. “And then we won again!”
Herring said he and his office had worked diligently to expand protections and rights to same-sex couples since the law was struck down – from help with adoptions, taxation and land transfers to birth certificates.
“I can’t tell you what it meant, through all of it, that every single one of you and so many others all across the commonwealth were with me,” said the AG. “Since the fourth circuit and SCOTUS decision, we’ve continued to work.”
Lt. Governor Northam spoke much to the same effect. When Equality Virginia’s Executive Director introduced Northam he jokingly referred to him as “tie-breaker” because earlier that day he broke the tie on a senate vote on McEachin’s workplace protections bill.
“I’ve taken many votes, subcommittees, floor of the senate, but now, when I vote, every time I vote, I win,” he joked since the Lt. Gov. only votes to break ties in he Senate. “Today was an example of why we need democrats elected to break these ties.”
“We’ve come a long way, but there’s still plenty of work to do,” said Northam.
About 100 people attended EV’s Lobbying Day from across Virginia. A longer story about that event is coming later this afternoon.
Full list of Attendees via EV:
Del. Watts, Del. Glenn Davis, Del. Plum, Del. Peace, Del. Murphy, Del. C. Herring, Del., Filler-Corn, Del. Mason, Del. Hester, Del. Lindsay, Del Rasul, Del. Carr, del. surovell, Del. Simon, Del Preston
Sen. Barker, Sen. Ebbin, Sen. Edwards, Sen. Lewis, Sen Miller, Sen. Wexton, Sen. Howl, Sen. Marsden, Sen. Saslaw, Sen. Watkins, Sen. Fivola, Sen. McEachin, Sen. Petersen, Sen. Deeds,
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