LGBT Workplace Protection Bill Passes Virginia Senate

Bill’s Forward Movement Signals Progress for Virginia’s LGBT Community

Richmond, VA – Senate Bill 701, a measure to protect Virginia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender state employees from workplace discrimination, passed today with a 24-16 vote in the Senate.  Now, the bill moves forward to the House of Delegates. "We're going to press forward with this momentum," said Senator Adam Ebbin, a chief patron of the bill. "No state employee should ever doubt Virginia's commitment to equal opportunity employment for all. This assures state employees that they will be judged solely on their merits and that discrimination has no place in Virginia." The bill, introduced by Senator Donald McEachin and Senator Ebbin extends protections for sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The bill has received support from 46 co-patrons in both in the House and Senate.  Equality Virginia has recorded over 11,000 messages being sent in the past two months to the General Assembly in support of SB701 from citizens across the Commonwealth. “SB701 is about fairness and all Virginians deserve equal opportunity, justice and fairness,” McEachin said.  “The people must continue to lead the legislature and remind the House that Virginia is an open state and welcoming to all folks as we move this bill ahead.” 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. “In Virginia, LGBT protections will not pass without bi-partisan support.  We are pleased that four Republican senators joined their Democratic colleagues in passing SB701 to protect LGBT state employees,” Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish said.  “In the private sector, workplace protections are shown to decrease legal vulnerability while enhancing the employer’s reputation, increasing job satisfaction and boosting employee morale and productivity.” Equality Virginia, the statewide LGBT advocacy organization, hosts its annual Day of Action in Richmond on Tuesday, Jan. 29 giving its membership an opportunity to speak with members of the House of Delegates about this legislation. “Making sure elected official hear LGBT issues are important to all Virginians is the most important thing any citizen can do to open hearts and minds across the state,” Parrish adds. “We’re very fortunate the Senators that voted in support today are listening to their constituents.” YEAS: A. Donald McEachin, Adam P. Ebbin, 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, Charles Colgan, Jill Holtzman Vogel, Chap Petersen, Louise L. Lucas, John Watkins, Thomas Norment, Frank Wagner NAYS: Frank Ruff, Richard Black, Thomas Garrett, Stephen Martin, Bryce Reeves, Walter Stosch, Richard Stuart, Harry B. Blevins, Charles W. Carrico, Emmett W. Hanger, Jr., Ryan McDougle, Jeffrey McWaters, Stephen D. Newman, Jr., Ralph Smith, William M. Stanley, Mark D. Obenshain