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Governor McAuliffe hits LGBTQ issues hard in 2017 State of the Commonwealth Address

GayRVA Staff | January 11, 2017

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe pointed to the importance of inclusion in Virginia and the devastation anti-LGBTQ legislation can cause.

As part of the address which deals with a breakdown of the Commonwealth after a particularly tumultuous  year, McAuliffe spoke to a number of issues from unemployment – 5.4 percent at the start of his term to as low as 3.7 percent – to climate change - $120 million federal resiliency grant for Norfolk and other communities in Hampton Roads.

But for the sake of this publication, his words on LGBTQ equality and issues like Del. Bob Marshall’s “bathroom bill” really stood out. Check them out below:

At the same time, Virginia has taken a different approach.  Over the past three years, we have worked to send a message to families and job creators all over the globe that our Commonwealth will not tolerate discrimination against anyone, including our friends and neighbors in the LGBT community.

And those efforts are paying off. This year, Virginia competed directly with North Carolina for the CoStar Group’s new research headquarters. And we started at a disadvantage when North Carolina put an incentive package on the table that was three times the size of our own.

But in the end, Virginia’s open and welcoming business climate trumped North Carolina’s attacks on equality, and Costar is bringing 732 new high-paying jobs right here to the City of Richmond. 

And so tonight I am simply asking for your assistance to help me bring more Costars to Virginia rather than turn them away.

First, I want to make it very clear that I will veto any legislation that discriminates against LGBT Virginians or undermines the constitutional health care rights of Virginia women.

I am 71-0 on veto override votes and I’m ready to keep the streak alive.  But I hope you will deny me the opportunity by simply refraining from sending them to me so that we can spend our time on more productive pursuits.

Second, we must protect and enhance our business climate by erasing division and discrimination from our code and our constitution.

After a landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, in which our Attorney General Mark Herring played a central role, marriage equality is now the law of our land. We should not wait another session to comply with that ruling and take our outdated ban off our books.

Legislative actions have been put forward to address all these issues, but their hopes of passing in the GOP controlled House are slim.

GayRVA will follow this year’s General Assembly as it begins this week and runs through February.