On Tuesday, the Virginia Senate passed SB 1323– discriminatory legislation that seeks to give taxpayer-funded agencies and service providers a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people under the guise of religion. The bill now heads to the House.
The bill mirrors HB 2025, which the Virginia House of Delegates passed last week. HB 2025 could allow taxpayer-funded organizations like homeless shelters and adoption agencies to refuse service to same-sex couples, transgender people, and anyone suspected of having intimate relationships outside of a heterosexual marriage (such as single mothers or a cohabiting straight couple) without losing taxpayer funding, contracts, licensing, or other forms of state recognition.
Either the house or the senate could now pass the version passed in the other chamber and send it to the governor’s desk.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed a similar discriminatory proposal in 2016 and has vowed to do the same this year.
“I want to make it very clear that I will veto any legislation that discriminates against LGBT Virginians, or undermines the constitutional health care rights of our Virginia women,” McAuliffe said in his State of Commonwealth address last month.
The attack on fairness and equality in Virginia is part of an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ bills being pushed in 2017 by anti-equality activists around the country. HRC is currently tracking 72 anti-LGBTQ legislative proposals in 22 states. For more information, visit http://hrc.im/2017legislature.