LGBTQ Groups Celebrate Passage of ‘Historic’ Virginia Values Act

by | Feb 10, 2020 | GayRVA

After years of struggling, advocates for Virginia’s LGBTQ community have received a clear victory, as the Virginia Values Act passes both houses of the General Assembly.

Legislators wore rainbow, heart-shaped stickers Thursday as the House and Senate passed the Virginia Values Act. LGBTQ advocacy groups and lawmakers held a press conference in anticipation of what they called, “a historic moment after a years-long battle.”

Senate Bill 868, patroned by Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, and House Bill 1663, patroned by Del. Mark Sickles, D-Fairfax, will amend existing nondiscrimination laws to extend protection to LGBTQ residents in housing, employment and places of public accommodation. 

“Today we took another giant step along the path towards a more equal and just Virginia,” Sickles said in a statement.

Speakers at the event included the chief patrons of the bills and chief co-patron Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax, as well as representatives from LGBTQ organizations such as the Virginia Values Coalition, Equality Virginia, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Center for Transgender Equality and Freedom for All Americans.

“Today, history was made in Virginia, and LGBTQ Virginians are one step closer to being protected from discrimination simply because of who they are or whom they love,” said HRC President Alphonso David.

James Parrish, director at Virginia Values Coalition, speaks at a press conference ahead of the Virginia Values Act passage. (Photo: Screengrab from press conference, via VCU-CNS)

Virginia will be the first Southern state to pass nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ residents, as well as the first state in over a decade to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to existing laws of nondiscrimination protections, according to a HRC media release.

“This isn’t a theoretical issue, discrimination is happening today,” Ebbin said in a press release. “Until we shine a light on this issue, until we drive it out of our state, Virginians will continue to suffer the psychological, physical and economic vandalism simply because of who they are or who they love.”

Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax, House of Delegates Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, and Gov. Ralph Northam have pledged their support for the legislation. 

“We are going to officially end discrimination in the commonwealth of Virginia this year,” Northam said during an Equality Virginia reception Tuesday.

Written by Emma Gauthier, Capital News Service. Top Photo: A rainbow flag was raised on Sept. 23 along with a trans flag and the Philly Pride Flag for Richmond Pride. (Photo from City of Richmond Flickr account)



more in gayrva

Let’s Talk Vegan With Kasie Hull Of Tiny Vegan!

Hello everyone! Today we speak with Kasie Hull, the owner of Tiny Vegan, a Richmond food truck that specializes in vegan dishes. She shares her motivation for starting the business, the challenges of creating vegan versions of classic comfort foods, and her advice for...

Miles To Go Before I Sleep: The Musical Life of Zach Benson

Music has been a crucial element of Zach Benson’s life ever since he was a child, but he’s come a long way from his early days playing drums in middle-school cover bands. These days, the Virginia native and Richmond resident is a prolific indie-pop musician with a...

Big Freedia Got Booties Poppin’ At PrideFest

Marilyn: One of the great things about Virginia PrideFest is that it's the kind of all-consuming event you can attend and direct your focus in any of several directions. Regardless of what you focus on, you're still sure to have a great time. Just as I had a great...

Pin It on Pinterest