Bill Protecting VA’s LGBT State Employees Moves To Senate Floor

Organizations Applaud General Laws & Technology Committee for Passing SB 701

Richmond, VA – Today, Senate Bill 701 was moved out of the General Laws and Technology Committee with an 8-7 vote and will be scheduled in the Senate. “We’re glad the committee listened to the thousands of Virginians that messaged their delegates and senators on this issue.” James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, said. “Now, we must continue spreading the word about the importance of workplace protections for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender state employees to move this out of the Senate.” The bill, introduced by Senator Donald McEachin and Senator Adam Ebbin extends protections for sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in addition to other federal standards into the Virginia’s code for state workers. "We're extraordinarily pleased members of the Senate recognize no Virginian should face discrimination because of who they are or who they love,” Anna Scholl, executive director of ProgressVA, said. “Protecting all state employees from workplace discrimination brings Virginia into line with the private sector standard and ensures we can recruit the best and brightest to lead our Commonwealth forward." The bill has received support from 46 co-patrons in both chambers of the General Assembly. Equality Virginia reported last week that the General Assembly has received over 11,000 constituent messages in support of the legislation. Of Virginia’s top 25 private employers, 80 percent have policies protecting at least sexual orientation and 60 percent also protect gender identity and expression. The advocacy organizations worked to spread the word about the importance of non-discrimination protections, which already have support by a majority of Virginians. According to a bipartisan poll from Fabrizo, McLaughlin & Associates and the Schapiro Group, 90 percent of Virginians believe gay and lesbian employees should have the right to work for the government without discrimination. “Our president spoke eloquently today in his inauguration speech by saying ‘Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law’ – This bill is an opportunity for our lawmakers at home to give all LGBT Virginians an opportunity for fairness and job security,” Parrish said. YEAS: George Barker (D-39), Charles Colgan (D-29), Creigh Deeds (D-25), Adam Ebbin (D-30), Mark Herring (D-33), Mamie Locke (D-02), Chap Peterson (D-34), Jill Vogel (R-27) NAYS: Frank Ruff (R-15), Richard Black (R-13), Thomas Garret, Jr. (R-22), Stephen Martin (R-11), Bryce Reeves (R-17), Walter Stosch (R-12), Richard Stuart (R-28)