General Assembly receives more than 11,000 constituent messages in support of protecting LGBT state employees

Legislators & Citizens Rally To Support SB 701

Richmond, VA – Today, Senator Donald McEachin (D-9) and Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30) announced co-patrons for their bill to add non-discrimination protections for state employees. Senate Bill 701 protects state employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in addition to current federal standards. "This is about fairness," McEachin said. “Employment and advancement should be solely dependent on job performance. No one should be subject to discrimination on the job, including sexual orientation or gender identity.” Currently there are no workplace protections at the state or federal level for sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. Consistent polling shows that 90% of Virginians believe that gays and lesbians should have the right to work for the government without discrimination. “All Virginians deserve equal opportunity, fairness and justice,” Ebbin said. “The Commonwealth must remain competitive and now is the time to move forward and protect our state workers.” Statewide LGBT advocacy organization Equality Virginia and ten other organizations have leant their support to passing SB 701 including: ProgressVA, Virginia Organizing, Mothers & Others of Virginia, People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, AARP Virginia, Black Transmen Inc., Ladies of the Blue Ridge – Transgender Alliance, Roanoke Pride Inc., Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, LGBT Democrats of Virginia. According to Equality Virginia, the General Assembly has received more than 11,235 constituent messages in support of this piece of legislation. “This is an amazing response we’ve seen from Virginians in favor of protecting our state employees,” James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, said. “We hope every senator and delegate is listening to their constituents on this issue.” Of Virginia’s top 25 private employers, 80 percent have policies protecting at least sexual orientation and sixty percent also protect gender identity and expression. Top employers with fully inclusive protections include Capital One, Wal-mart, Target, Wells Fargo, and Dominion Resources. These businesses understand that protecting LGBT employees helps in recruiting and retaining top talent and promoting a productive work environment. “This shows the state should do for its employees what these businesses do for theirs,” Ebbin said. SB701 awaits a vote in the General Laws and Technology Committee on Monday, Jan. 21 to move forward. Senate Patrons: A. Donald McEachin (chief patron), Adam P. Ebbin (chief patron), Kenneth C. Alexander, George L. Barker, R. Creigh Deeds, John S. Edwards, Barbara A. Favola, Mark R. Herring, Janet D. Howell, Mamie E. Locke, David W. Marsden, Henry L. Marsh III, John C. Miller, Ralph S. Northam, Phillip P. Puckett, Linda T. Puller, Richard L. Saslaw House Patrons: Luke E. Torian, Mamye E. BaCote, Robert H. Brink, David L. Bulova, Betsy B. Carr, Rosalyn R. Dance, Eileen Filler-Corn, Charniele L. Herring, Daun Hester, Patrick A. Hope, Mark L. Keam, Kaye Kory, K. Rob Krupicka, Lynwood W. Lewis, Jr., Alfonso H. Lopez, Jennifer L. McClellan, Delores L. McQuinn, Joseph D. Morrissey, Kenneth R. Plum, Thomas Davis Rust, James M. Scott, Mark D. Sickles, Lionell Spruill, Sr., Scott A. Surovell, David J. Toscano, Roslyn C. Tyler, Jeion A. Ward, Onzlee Ware, R. Lee Ware, Jr., Vivian E. Watts, Joseph R. Yost