Va. House subcommittee approves nondiscrimination bill

Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade
The Virginia State Capitol (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee on
Thursday voted 5-1 to advance a bill that would add sexual orientation and
gender identity to the state’s nondiscrimination law.

The House General Laws Committee on Tuesday is
scheduled to hold a hearing on the Virginia Values Act. The Virginia Senate a
day later is expected to consider a companion bill.

“We can all agree that discrimination is wrong and has no place in the commonwealth,” said state Del. Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax County), who introduced the Virginia Values Act in the House, in a press release. “All Virginians deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, including LGBTQ people.”

“I am proud to work with my colleagues to pass
the Virginia Values Act and send a message that the commonwealth is a safe and
welcoming place for all people,” he added.

The Senate version of the bill was referred to
the Senate General Laws Committee this week.

The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Adam Ebbin
(D-Alexandria), said it was important to “shine a light on this issue” of anti-LGBTQ
discrimination “until we drive it out of our state.”

“As the bills move through the General
Assembly, the Virginia Values Coalition remains confident lawmakers will do the
right thing and quickly pass this legislation to protect LGBTQ Virginians from
discrimination in employment, housing, and public spaces,” said James Parrish,
director of the Virginia Values Coalition, a group of statewide and national
organizations and individuals pushing for these protections.

The Virginia Values Act has broad support with
Gov. Ralph Northam, House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax County) and
Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax County), among others.

“These protections are long overdue and an
important step forward for Virginia’s LGBTQ community,” said Equality Virginia Executive
Director Vee Lamneck.

House subcommittee approves trans rights bill

A House subcommittee on Thursday also voted to
advance House Bill 1429, a measure introduced by state Del. Danica Roem
(D-Manassas) that would ban Virginia health care providers from discriminating
against patients based on their gender identity.

Published at Sat, 25 Jan 2020 01:30:51 +0000