State Capitol In Richmond, Virginia
Every year, Equality Virginia monitors all legislation introduced to the Virginia General Assembly and advocates on behalf of Virginia’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. We work to introduce and support pro-equality legislation and to oppose bills that move us backwards.

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2015 General Assembly Session

We were successful in killing two bad bills this session, but unfortunately none of the bills that we support passed out of the House this session.  Bills to protect LGBT public employees (SB 785) and to update language in the code (SB 1211) passed the Senate, only to be killed in a House subcommittee.  Below is the list of all bills we followed during the 2015 GA session.

END DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING

While we  celebrate the freedom to marry, we still have more work to do to end discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in Virginia.

  • PROTECT LGBT PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FROM DISCRIMINATION – SB 785 (McEachin), SB1181 (Ebbin),  HB 1498*(Plum) and HB 1643* (Villanueva):  Our number one priority during the 2015 General Assembly session is to put an end to workplace discrimination.   People shouldn’t be fired, not hired, or threatened at work for their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.  Our bill would protect all public employees from such treatment. Seventy five percent of  Virginians favor a law that would protect LGBT people from workplace discrimination, and it’s time for our laws to catch up.  Read more about workplace discrimination here. SUPPORT
    Senate Bill Status:  Passed the Senate (19-Y 19-N), but passed by indefinitely (killed) in House  subcommittee 
    House Bill Status: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table (killed)
  • PROTECT LGBT VIRGINIANS FROM DISCRIMINATION IN HOUSING –  HB 1454 (Simon) and SB 917 (Wexton): For many LGBT individuals and families, discrimination in housing is a barrier to finding safe and affordable shelter. Read more about fair housing here.  SUPPORT
    House Bill Status: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table  (killed)
    Senate Bill Status: Failed to report (killed) in General Laws and Technology (7Y – 7N)
  • STUDY LGBT DISCRIMINATION IN HOUSING- HJ 648 (Villanueva): For many LGBT individuals and families, discrimination in housing is a barrier to finding safe and affordable shelter. This bill would direct the Housing Commission to study that discrimination. Read more about fair housing here. SUPPORT
    Status: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table (killed)

ENSURE ALL CHILDREN HAVE THE PROTECTION OF TWO LEGAL PARENTS

  • SECOND-PARENT ADOPTION –  SB 679 (Howell): Even with marriage equality, there are some lesbian and gay  families who still need second-parent adoption to protect their children. Read more about second-parent adoption here.   SUPPORT
    Status: Failed to report (killed) in Rehabilitation and Social Services (7-Y 8-N).

UPDATE VIRGINIA’S BOOKS TO REFLECT MARRIAGE EQUALITY

October 6, 2014 will be a day we will always remember and celebrate – Virginia finally has the freedom to marry! Even though it’s official, the next steps are to repeal the statutory prohibitions and allow Virginia voters to repeal the Marshall-Newman Amendment.

  • REPEAL THE MARSHALL-NEWMAN AMENDMENT –  SJ 214 (Ebbin);  SJ 213 (Howell), and SJ 283 (McEachin); HJ 492 (Krupicka); and HJ 493 (Surovell): All Virginians now enjoy the fundamental human right to marry the person they love, and our constitution should reflect that.  This resolution is the first step toward repealing the non-constitutional legal Marshall-Newman amendment.  SUPPORT
    Senate Bills Status: Passed by indefinitely (killed) in Privileges and Elections
    House Bills Status: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table (killed)
  • REPEAL THE STATUTORY PROHIBITIONS ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGES AND CIVIL UNIONS – SB 682 (Ebbin); HB 1288 (Simon); HB 1289 (Surovell):  All Virginians now enjoy the fundamental human right to marry the person they love, and the Virginia code should reflect that. SUPPORT
    Senate Bill Status: Failed to report (defeated) in Courts of Justice
    House Bills Status: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table (killed)
  • UPDATE GENDER-SPECIFIC LANGUAGE – SB 1211 (Ebbin),  HJ546 (Sullivan), HB1600 (Simon): Language in the Code of Virginia must be updated in light of the 2014 Bostic v. Rainey decision. SUPPORT
    HJ 546 Status: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table  (killed)
    HB 1600 Status: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table  (killed)
    SB 1211 Status: Passed Senate (20-Y 18-N), but laid on the table (killed) in House Subcommittee

BUILD SAFE COMMUNITIES

  • PROHIBIT SEXUAL ORIENTATION CHANGE EFFORTSHB 1385 (Hope) and SB 988 (Lucas): The American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Psychological Association agree that so-called “conversion therapy” is ineffective and harmful.  SUPPORT
    House Bill Status: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table  (killed)
    Senate Bill Status: Passed by indefinitely (killed)  in Education and Health
  • PROTECT LGBT PEOPLE FROM HATE CRIMES – SB 799 (Favola) and HB 1494 (Sullivan): Virginia’s law-enforcement agencies are already required to report hate crimes based on race, religion, or national origin.  A criminal act committed against a person because of their sexual orientation or gender identity should be included under this requirement.  SUPPORT
    Senate Bill Status: Failed to report (killed) in Courts of Justice
    House Bills Status: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table  (killed)

DO NOT ALLOW DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THE LGBT COMMUNITY

Equality Virginia opposes any bills that would allow for blatant discrimination against LGBT individuals and families.

  • HB 1409 (Marshall): EV opposes this bill because we believe that agencies of the Commonwealth, if they so choose, should be able to require contractors to agree to a provision protecting LGBT workers. OPPOSE
    Status: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table  (killed)
  • HB 1414 (Marshall):  EV opposes this bill that would allow any professional obtaining or renewing a government-issued license to discriminate against the LGBT community under the guise of religion.  Discrimination is wrong, period. OPPOSE
    Status:
     Subcommittee recommends laying on the table  (killed)

Additional Resources

updated February 12, 2015

* We are supporting HB 1498 and HB 1643 because Delegate Plum and Delegate Villanueva have said they will update the language with respect to the way gender identity is defined.  The final bill language will be identical to that of SB 785.