HRC and Equality Virginia, the statewide LGBT advocacy organization, hailed Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe for his leadership in vetoing SB 41, one of several anti-LGBT bills taken up in the legislature this year in Virginia--and the only to advance to Governor McAuliffe’s desk.
SB 41 was a harmful bill that would have allowed taxpayer-funded agencies and service providers to discriminate against LGBT people.
“Gov. McAuliffe has shown true leadership in vetoing this bill that would have enshrined discrimination in state law,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Freedom of religion is already protected under the First Amendment and we are grateful to have a strong, pro-equality leader in the Governor’s office. Would Republicans like Rob Wittman and Ed Gillespie issue the same veto to ensure Virginians can live free from fear of discrimination? While Virginia still lacks a statewide non-discrimination law, Gov. McAuliffe’s veto sends an important signal about the importance of fairness and equal treatment for all under the law.”
“Equality Virginia applauds Governor McAuliffe for fulfilling his promise to veto this discriminatory and destructive bill,” said James Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia. “Senator Carrico’s bill sought to blatantly and directly discriminate against gay and lesbian couples and families under the guise of religious freedom, and we are thankful to have a governor opposing this and working to make Virginia more open and welcoming for everyone, not less.”
Among the anti-LGBT bills introduced in Virginia were: attempts to undermine marriage equality; proposals aimed at authorizing individuals, businesses and taxpayer-funded agencies to cite religion as a legal reason to refuse goods or services to LGBT people; a bill to prevent state universities and public schools from adopting LGBT non-discrimination protections; a bill to prevent transgender Virginians from changing their birth certificates to match their identity and multiple bills seeking to restrict transgender people from using facilities consistent with their gender identity.
HRC is tracking an onslaught of anti-LGBT bills being pushed in 2016 by anti-equality activists around the country. HRC is currently tracking nearly 200 anti-LGBT bills in 34 states. For more information, visit: www.hrc.org/2016legislature.