Va. businesses urge lawmakers to pass nondiscrimination bill

Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade
More than 30 Virginia-based businesses have urged lawmakers to pass a bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s nondiscrimination law.

More than 30 major Virginia employers on Monday sent a letter to lawmakers urging passage of a bill that would ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the state.

Amazon, Capital One and Dominion Energy are among the companies that stated employees, their families and customers deserve equal opportunities at work and in their daily lives.

“Because many LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ workers prefer to live and work in communities with nondiscrimination protections,” the letter, addressed to House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax County) and Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw (D-Fairfax County), states. “Such a law will give Virginia’s employees tangible advantages in recruitment and retention.”

“Businesses throughout the commonwealth are standing together to oppose discrimination and support laws that protect LGBTQ Virginians,” said Equality Virginia Executive Director Vee Lamneck. “We’re calling on lawmakers to ensure all hard-working Virginians and their families are protected from discrimination.”

This letter of support from major Virginia businesses counters critics who state the Virginia Values Act would have a detrimental impact on Virginia’s economy.

WHSV in Richmond on Jan. 15 reported criticism from Virginia’s Family Foundation, a socially conservative lobbying group that also opposes the recent ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in the General Assembly. The group issued a statement said the proposed bill punishes “American business owners for operating according to their faith principles.”

However, the Virginia Values Coalition, a group of statewide and national organizations and individuals who support the Virginia Values Act, includes members of religious organizations as well.

“Nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Virginians and visitors will make it easier for businesses to recruit talented workers, to expand investments in the state, and to attract tourism business,” said Freedom for All Americans CEO Kasey Suffredini. “These business leaders support nondiscrimination because they know that everyone wins when their customers, their employees, and their employees’ families feel welcome, included, and treated with dignity.”

Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David agreed.

“It’s heartening to see so many Virginia businesses publicly support these protections and push for equality for all,” he said.

Published at Tue, 28 Jan 2020 03:02:19 +0000