FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RICHMOND, Va. (March 30, 2016) – Following up on a promise made three months ago at the beginning of Virginia’s legislative session, Governor Terry McAuliffe has officially vetoed SB 41 (Carrico), an unnecessary bill that would provide broad and undefined exemptions to people and companies "operating in connection with a religious organization" that would discriminate against LGBT couples and families; moreover, the bill ignores that protections for religious leaders and organizations not wanting to solemnize gay and lesbian weddings already exist.
“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.”
SB 41 was one of nine discriminatory bills filed in Virginia this year targeting gay and transgender individuals, signifying an unprecedented amount of LGBT-centric legislation filed in one legislative session.
“While we are happy that SB 41 will not become law, the General Assembly’s votes against fairness and non-discrimination make it clear that our work is far from over,” said Parrish. “The majority of Virginians believe in fairness and equality, and it is discouraging to see so many of our legislators unwilling to stand with them for what is right by passing discriminatory legislation.”
Since 1989, Equality Virginia has been the leading statewide advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Virginians. We believe in a truly inclusive Commonwealth where everyone is valued, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Learn more about Equality Virginia online at EqualityVirginia.org, or connect with us on Facebook.com/EqualityVA and Twitter @EqualityVA.