Virginia’s ‘religious freedom’ bill passes House, heads to Senate sub committee
A bill which would allow private businesses to deny services to LGBTQ Virginians if it “violates their deeply held religious belifes” passed a full House vote this week and it is now headed for a Senate subcommittee.
HB 773, the Government Nondiscrimination Act, aims to prohibit “a government entity from taking any discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes, speaks, or acts in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.”
The bill goes on to define man and woman as an “individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics of the individual at the time of birth.”
It would also not allow the state to deny any service, such as grants, contracts, licenses, or otherwise to a business or organization which refuses to serve LGBTQ people, but it would allow businesses to deny serves to those who go against their deeply held religious beliefs, legalizing anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
“It’s intended to restore reasonable accommodations in the area of religious liberty,” said Del. Todd Gilbert (top image), author of the bill, who defended his legislation at a committee hearing last week. “The culture is changing and changing quickly and significantly. I think its changing in a way that many advocates for gay and transgender people and people who chose to marry people of the same-sex, that it’s changing in a way they are very happy about. That still runs contrary to people who have deeply held religious convictions that are long held and as old as humanity itself.”
While it hasn’t been assigned to a subcommittee yet, when it is GayRVA will let you all know as it will give a chance for more testimony from the public to speak out against the bill.
Governor McAuliffe has promised to veto the bill if it makes it to his desk, saying he plans to veto any law which would make “Virginia less welcoming,”
The full vote is below, with seven republicans notably voting against the legislation including Yost, Davis, Villanueva, Taylor, Stolle, Yancey, and Farrell.
Noticeably absent from the vote was Del. Manoli Loupassi who’s district includes Chesterfield county.
YEAS–Adams, Albo, Anderson, Austin, Bell, Richard P., Bell, Robert B., Bloxom, Byron, Campbell, Cline, Cole, Collins, Cox, Dudenhefer, Edmunds, Fariss, Fowler, Freitas, Garrett, Gilbert, Greason, Habeeb, Head, Helsel, Hodges, Hugo, Ingram, Jones, Kilgore, Knight, Landes, LaRock, Leftwich, LeMunyon, Lingamfelter, Marshall, D.W., Marshall, R.G., Massie, Miller, Minchew, Morris, O’Bannon, O’Quinn, Orrock, Peace, Pillion, Pogge, Poindexter, Ransone, Robinson, Rush, Ware, Webert, Wilt, Wright, Mr. Speaker–56.
NAYS–Aird, Bagby, Bell, John J., Boysko, Bulova, Carr, Davis, Farrell, Filler-Corn, Heretick, Herring, Hester, Hope, James, Keam, Kory, Krizek, Levine, Lindsey, Lopez, Mason, McClellan, McQuinn, Murphy, Plum, Price, Rasoul, Sickles, Simon, Spruill, Stolle, Sullivan, Taylor, Torian, Toscano, Tyler, Villanueva, Ward, Watts, Yancey, Yost–41.
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