It's hard to believe that the 2015 General Assembly session is shortly coming to a close. Over the last month and a half, we met with dozens of lawmakers, testified at committee hearings, ensured our issues were covered in the press, and worked with folks like you to send thousands of action alerts to our legislators. In many ways, the effort we all put in paid off:
The horrible bill that would have allowed professionals and businesses to blatantly discriminate against LGBT individuals was killed in a House subcommittee
Senator McEachin's workplace non-discrimination bill passed out of the Senate
Senator Ebbin's bill to revise language in the code to reflect the rights and responsibilities of married couples passed out of the Senate
A number of our bills received bi-partisan support in the House and in the Senate
However, similar to previous years, despite all our hard work, it's disappointing - but not surprising - to see the House of Delegates stand in the way to creating a welcoming and inclusive Virginia. Click here to learn the fate of this year's LGBT bills.
Take one of our priority bills, for example. The majority of Virginians, Virginia's business community, the Virginia Senate, and media outlets across the commonwealth believe in workplace non-discrimination. But, going against the mainstream opinion of the day, the majority in the House of Delegates remains unwilling to budge on their outdated, backwards, and discriminatory stance.
Those lawmakers are not the only ones looking backwards - whether it was a bill to ban damaging gay conversion therapy against LGBT youth, to ensure more children have access to two legal parents, or to end discrimination in employment, the Family Foundation, the Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists, and the Virginia Catholic Conference were always the only groups present to testify against any bill that would ensure LGBT Virginians are seen and treated equally under the law.
That's one of the reasons why we needed your support and involvement during session - thank you for taking EV's actions, joining us for our Day of Action (see photos here), getting your friends and family members involved, and also for your financial support. We know that our lawmakers are incessantly hearing from those on the other side of this issue. But, the more we all come together, the stronger our message will become.
Together we will create a Virginia where everybody is treated equally regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. With session coming to a close, the staff at Equality Virginia will continue our important work of educating Virginians and changing hearts and minds. Our work is far from over, but with your involvement and support, we will get there. Click here to support our work.
For a complete review of the bills we followed this session, see our General Assembly page.
Thanks again for your participation during General Assembly 2015. Even as we hit road blocks at the General Assembly, the truth is we still have a lot to celebrate. I hope you can join us for our 12th Annual Commonwealth Dinner this year (in Richmond on April 18th), where we will be recognizing our OUTstanding Virginians, celebrating the freedom to marry, and more!