Main | Friday, January 25, 2013

VIRGINIA: Workplace Protections For State LGBT Employees Passes Senate

Virginia's bill to protect state LGBT employees from workplace discrimination has passed in the Senate by a 24-16 vote. Equality Virginia reports via press release:
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.”
Equality Virginia notes that a majority of the state's top 25 private employers already provide similar protections.  Only 21 states provide broad employment protections to public and private gay and lesbian workers. Five fewer states grant such protections to transgender employees.

RELATED: In 2010 GOP Gov. Bob McConnell refused to renew an annual executive order protecting LGBT state employees from discrimination, claiming that there was no evidence that such discrimination even existed. Shortly afterward he also ordered state universities to rescind any such protection policies, saying that they had no authority to enforce them.  One month later he did issue an executive order recognizing Confederate History Month. 

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