General Assembly Digest: 01.18.13
WIN: VA's First Openly Gay Judge/LOSS: Marriage Repeal SquashedThis first full week of session has been a roller coaster at the General Assembly. You probably read the news that HJ665, a resolution to repeal the marriage amendment, got tabled and therefore killed in subcommittee; meaning it’s going to be another two years before we can introduce this repeal again. We appreciate Del. Scott Surovell (pictured), Del. Rob Krupicka and the bill’s co-patrons for speaking on behalf of LGBT families – it’s unfortunate that House Republicans won’t even bring this up for a vote. As we mentioned in our message earlier this week, we need all of Virginia's legislators to hear that LGBT issues are important, so we need you to stand up and attend our free Day of Action on Tuesday, Jan. 29. If you can’t make it, please join the cause with a $10, $35 or more to make sure we are being heard. Our opposition is well-funded, so every little bit helps.
CONGRATULATIONS TO TRACY THORNE-BEGLANDEquality Virginia was elated with the news this week of Tracy Thorne-Begland’s confirmation as Virginia’s first openly gay judge. Watch his passionate interview with the House-Senate Judicial Panel on Monday here. The General Assembly took a small step forward in correcting last year’s embarrassing national headlines. Did your delegate or senator vote for Tracy? Click here to send a thank you or ask them why they didn’t do the right thing!
UPDATE ON SB701/PROTECTING STATE EMPLOYEESOn Thursday, we hosted a joint press conference with Senator Adam Ebbin and Senator Donald McEachin announcing the 11,235 messages YOU have already sent to your legislators showing your support of protecting LGBT state employees. Mom Susie Corbett also spoke eloquently at the conference about how her son has been looking for employment over the past few months and doesn’t want his opportunities limited because of homophobia. The bill currently has 48 patrons in the House and Senate and is slated to be heard in the General Laws & Technology Committee this Monday, Jan. 21. We still need to make sure this bill gets all the support it can. Thank your delegate or senator for signing on as a co-patron or ask them to join their fellow legislators in ending workplace discrimination.
THREE MORE BILLS TO WATCHDEFINING BULLYING – HB1871 (MCCLELLAN) & SB951 (FAVOLA): SUPPORT Establishes guidelines and model polices for codes of student conduct to aid local school boards in the implementation of such policies. Equality Virginia supports fully enumerated bullying policies that include sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS; PROHIBITS HIGHER EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS FROM DISCRIMINATION – HB1617 (GILBERT): OPPOSE Allows publicly funded groups to participate in discriminatory acts. The First Amendment protects the right of student organizations to hold and advocate whatever ideas they choose. This bill is not about free expression, but about universities’ right to refrain from sponsoring discriminatory conduct. Student organizations that wish to discriminate are free to do so — but that does not mean that they should be entitled to government recognition and funding.
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