Virginia Senate Passes Pro-Equality Legislation

On Friday, the Virginia Senate passed two landmark pieces of non-discrimination legislation that now advance to the Virginia House of Delegates.

Senate Bill 12 would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in state and local government employment.  Special thanks and congratulations go to Senators Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico County) who introduced and championed this bill.

Senate Bill 67 would update the Commonwealth’s fair housing law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  The bill was introduced by Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-Leesburg).

Both bills were passed with strong bipartisan votes of 25-15.

While passage of these bills through the state senate is great news for LGBT Virginians, anti-equality lawmakers in Virginia also have filed several anti-transgender bills and bill related to marriage.

These outrageous pieces of legislation are part of an onslaught of anti-LGBT bills being pushed in 2016 by anti-equality activists around the country. To date, HRC is tracking nearly 150 anti-LGBT bills in 27 states.

Virginia is one of 31 states lacking explicit, fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections in employment and housing. Last year, HRC announced support of the Equality Act, comprehensive federal LGBT non-discrimination legislation. The Equality Act would provide basic protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, access to public spaces, housing, education, jury service, credit and federal funding.

To learn more about what might lie ahead for equality in your statehouse, check out HRC’s Preview 2016: Pro-Equality and Anti-LGBT State and Local Legislation.  

Hayley Miller

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