Bill Protecting Virginia’s LGBT Public Employees Moves to Senate Floor

Equality Virginia Applauds Senate General Laws and Technology Committee for Passing SB 785

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 26, 2015 Contact: Kirsten Bokenkamp, [email protected]; 804-643-4816 RICHMOND – On Monday, Senate Bill 785, a bill to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender public employees from workplace discrimination, was voted out of the General Laws and Technology Committee with an 8-7 vote, and will soon be scheduled on the Senate floor. “We are glad the committee voted in support of fairness and equality, and hope to see this bill pass out of the Senate as well,” said James Parrish, executive director with Equality Virginia.  “As the majority of Fortune 500 corporations know, putting a policy in place to protect LGBT employees is not only the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense.  It is time for Virginia to follow the lead of our business community by passing a law to protect LGBT public employees.” The bill, introduced by Senator Donald McEachin, with an identical version filed by Senator Adam Ebbin, extends protections for sexual orientation and gender identity for Virginia’s public employees. Shortly after his inauguration, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed Executive Order One that bans such discrimination.  This bill would make those protections permanent. When polled, a clear majority of Virginians voice their belief that LGBT Virginians should have the right to work for the government without facing discrimination. “Virginians want to live in a commonwealth that is welcoming and inclusive –and this bill is a step toward that ideal,” said Parrish. Similar bills have been introduced in the House of Delegate by Delegate Ron Villanueva and Delegate Ken Plum. Those bills have been referred to the House Committee on General Laws but have not yet been put on a docket. “With bi-partisan support for workplace fairness, the message is clear: it’s time to end workplace discrimination against LGBT Virginians.  By voting for this bill, our lawmakers can give LGBT Virginians equal opportunity for fairness and job security while showing that Virginia is a welcoming place live, work, and visit.” Parrish said.   YEAS: George Barker (D-39), Charles Colgan (D-29), Creigh Deeds (D-25), Adam Ebbin (D-30), Mamie Locke (D-02), Chap Peterson (D-34), Jill Vogel (R-27), Jennifer Wexton (D-33) 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)