Multiple LGBTQ Bills Die in General Assembly
Five bills that would have given numerous protections to Virginia’s LGBTQ community died at the General Assembly last week.
Four were put to death in the Republican-dominated House of Delegates. Bills HB417 and HB562 would have amended the Virginia Human Rights Act to protect all LGBTQ employees from being discriminated against in the workplace.
A similar bill dealing with state-employees was tabled a week ago in the Virginia Senate, and even if it had made it through the Senate it would’ve likely met the same fate as it’s sister bills in the House. Equality Virginia supported both bills, and Executive Director James Parrish said the state needs to follow the private sector’s lead.
“The Delegates who voted no on this bill refuse to acknowledge what the Virginia public and business community have long understood: protecting LGBT employees is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense and will contribute to the overall success of the commonwealth,” Parrish said.
“Despite this temporary setback, executive order one, signed by Governor McAuliffe, will protect the state’s LGBT employees while he remains in office. Equality Virginia and our coalition partners will continue to work to codify executive order one to protect state LGBT employees from discrimination.”
Meanwhile HB418 and HB883, which would have banned landlords from refusing to sell or rent to a person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, also failed. The House Committee on General Law saw all four bills, assigned all four to a subcommittee in which Republicans outnumbered 6-2, and all four were tabled, ending their chances of passage during this General Assembly.
Over in the Senate, SB336 failed, which would have allowed for second-parent adoption by same-sex spouses, among other non-legally recognized spouses. Currently in Virginia, only a single parent can adopt. Parrish and Equality Virginia said this result may force some same-sex couples to leave Virginia, “just to protect their families.”
“By denying passage of the second-parent adoption bill, Senators Wagner, Hanger, McDougle, Black, Reeves, and Stosch are simply denying children across Virginia who are being raised by loving lesbian or gay parents the protection and security that having two legal parents would offer,” Parrish said.
“Today’s senate committee vote against second-parent adoption is just another example of how completely out of touch these Senators are with their constituents and the majority of Virginians. They are standing on the wrong side of history.”
All of this happened shortly after new Attorney General Mark Herring publicly said he will not defend the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage last week.
I’m a spring intern at RVA Mag and GayRVA. I recently got my degree in journalism from Virginia Tech, where I also wrote for the Collegiate Times newspaper. I spent the first half of my life as an impatient New Yorker, but I grew up here in Richmond, buying skateboards from Dominion, seeing shows at Alley Katz, and watching VCU Rams basketball games. I like everything bagels, wasting my money on clothes I don’t need, moombahton music, and cycling. I probably fell down putting on my pants this morning.
“As much immediate opposition to these bills as we can create will not only kill the bills this year but it makes it less likely to be reintroduced in upcoming years.”January 20, 2016
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