Virginia Lawmakers Block LGBTQ Equality
February 9, 2018 - Four bills that would have updated Virginia's laws to include LGBTQ people in nondiscrimination protections were killed in a committee despite the broad support of fair-minded Virginians. Two of the bills had passed in the state's Senate with 75% of the vote.
Equality Federation supported Equality Virginia with voter outreach to contact lawmakers and build support for the bills.
"As a nation, we'll look back on days like this and wonder why and how anyone could stand in the way of basic fairness," said Fran Hutchins, deputy director of Equality Federation. "All families in Virginia should be able to go to work, pay their rent, and enjoy restaurants and shopping without fear of discrimination. We won't stop fighting until that day is realized."
"I'm gravely disappointed in today's vote. Four pro-LGBT bills were killed on a party-line vote, revealing just how disconnected House leadership is from their constituents," said James Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia. "We hoped this year would be a turning point, but once again, Speaker Cox is playing politics with LGBT people's basic civil rights. These common-sense bills would have been important steps towards a more equal Virginia, including protecting LGBT people from discrimination in public employment and housing. It is truly disgraceful for sitting members of the Virginia House to vote down such fair-minded legislation at the will of the Speaker."
Danica Roem, the state's first transgender delegate, who was recently elected posted a message on her social media, "Delegate Levine (author of the all-inclusive nondiscrimination bill) is a mentor, pioneer and fighter and I'm so proud to stand with him in solidarity as we continue to fight for not just our own rights but the rights of every Virginian to live freely as who they are, not despite it. Our time will come and we will work until we bring it here. Until then, we're in it for the long haul."
Every day Equality Federation's Legislative Action Center team tracks bills and strategizes with activists on the ground to stop these attacks. Equality Federation supports our members, like Equality Virginia, to engage voters to contact their representatives and build support the power we need to win.