Organizations Condemn House Subcommittee For Tabling SB 701
Richmond, VA – Yesterday, Senate Bill 701 was tabled in the House General Laws Professions/Occupations and Administrative Process Subcommittee and therefore killed for the remainder of this session.
Subcommittee members (from left): Dels. Peter Farrell, Christopher Peace, Todd Gilbert, a legislative aide, and chair Barry Knight, who all voted against SB 701. Photo: GayRVA.com.
“State employees must now go another year without workplace protections,” James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, said. “It’s downright disrespectful that this subcommittee did not listen to the thousands of Virginians that messaged their Delegates and Senators over the past two months in support of protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender state employees.”
The bill, introduced by Senator Donald McEachin and Senator Adam Ebbin would have extended protections for sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in addition to other federal standards into the state code. The bill passed the Senate last month.
“It’s outrageous that a few state Delegates refuse to ensure Virginia law reflects the basic tenet of fairness and provide workplace protections for all Virginians,” Anna Scholl, executive director of ProgressVA, said. “No citizen should fear the loss of their livelihood because of who they are and who they love..”
The bill had received support from 46 co-patrons in both chambers of the General Assembly. Equality Virginia reports that the General Assembly had received over 12,000 constituent messages in support of the legislation.
The advocacy organizations worked to spread the word about the importance of non-discrimination protections, which already have supported by a majority of Virginians. According to a bipartisan poll from Fabrizo, McLaughlin & Associates and the Schapiro Group, 90 percent of Virginians believe gay and lesbian employees should be protected.
Of Virginia’s top 25 largest private employers, 80 percent include sexual orientation in their workplace policies and 60 percent include gender identity and expression.
On Monday night, the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors passed a unanimous resolution in support of SB701 – it joins twelve other communities already supporting non-discrimination protections through local ordinances and executive orders.
“The support of our cities and counties is further proof that this House of Delegates needs to catch up with our Senate, the business community, and the rest of Virginia,” Parrish added.
Op-Ed by Kevin Clay, Communications Coordinator, Equality Virginia.
Equality Virginia is a statewide, non-partisan education, outreach, and advocacy organization seeking equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Virginians. Since 1989, EV has worked to end discrimination, protect families and build safe communities. More information is online at EqualityVirginia.org. Connect on Facebook.com/EqualityVA or Twitter @EqualityVA.
ProgressVA is a multi-issue progressive advocacy organization that combines cutting edge online organizing and communications with rapid and hard-hitting earned media strategies. Year round, ProgressVA works to engage citizens from across the state around issues of immediate state or local concern. More information online at ProgressVA.org Connect on Facebook.com/ProgressVA or Twitter @ProgressVA