Virginia Senate Approves LGBT Protections

The Virginia Senate on Friday approved two bills that seek to protect LGBT Virginians.

Senate Bill 423 would prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, while Senate Bill 202 would prohibit discrimination in state employment, including LGBT Virginians who work in local government and public school districts. (Similar employee protections are currently offered through an executive order signed by Governor Ralph Northam.)

LGBT activists applauded the move.

“For the third year in a row, a bipartisan coalition of Virginia Senators voted to move Virginia forward by protecting LGBT people from discrimination,” James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, said in a statement. “This vote affirms what Virginians already know to be true: that our state is at its strongest when we’re all free to live our lives without fear of discrimination. This is the latest evidence that Virginia is ready for equal opportunity for all. We urge the House of Delegates to follow the Senate’s lead and move Virginia forward.”

“Today, the Virginia Senate stood up for fairness and equality by voting to make the commonwealth a more welcoming and inclusive place for all Virginians, including LGBTQ people,” HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse said in a statement. “It’s essential for the future of Virginia that the newly elected House of Delegates move swiftly to ensure these long-overdue protections are passed and sent to Governor Northam to be signed into law. These are basic non-discrimination protections that LGBTQ Virginians need and deserve.”

The legislation now heads to the House of Delegates, which could take up the bills as early as February 14.

While Republicans still control the House, the party lost a significant number of seats during the last election cycle and currently only holds a two-seat majority.

by Carlos Santoscoy
Source – On Top Magazine