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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. Below is a list of the legislation from 2016’s session.

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2016 GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSION

STOP HARMFUL LEGISLATION:

Government Nondiscrimination Act; creation – HB 773 (Gilbert): Creates the Government Nondiscrimination Act, which prohibits a government entity from taking any discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes, speaks, or acts in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman and that the terms “man” and “woman” refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics of the individual at the time of birth. OPPOSE

Status: House: Failed to pass in House

Religious freedom; solemnization of marriage – SB 41 (Carrico): Provides that no individual authorized to solemnize any marriage shall be required to do so and no religious organization shall be required to provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods, or privileges for a purpose related to the solemnization of any marriage if the action would cause the individual or organization to violate a sincerely held religious belief. Read more here. OPPOSE

Status: Vetoed by Governor

Sex or gender discrimination; applicable federal law – HB 77 (Marshall): Provides that for the purposes of the Virginia Human Rights Act, an “unlawful discriminatory practice” shall not include conduct that violates any federal administrative policy, rule, or regulation adopted on or after January 1, 2012. The language undermines federal executive orders meant to protect Virginia’s LGBT community. Read more here. OPPOSE

Status: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote

Discrimination; ordinances or regulations prohibiting – HB 385 (Marshall): Prohibits any political subdivision of the Commonwealth, including a locality or school board, from enacting an ordinance or adopting a regulation prohibiting discrimination on any basis other than race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, national origin, age, marital status, or disability.OPPOSE

Status: Failed to report (defeated) in General Laws (10-Y 12-N)

Discrimination; specification of certain terms relating to sex or gender – HB 397(LaRock): Specifies that the terms “because of gender,” “because of sex,” “on the basis of gender,” and “on the basis of sex” and terms of similar import when used in reference to discrimination in the Code and acts of the General Assembly mean because of or on the basis of the biologic character or quality that distinguishes an individual as either male or female as determined by analysis of the individual’s gonadal, internal and external morphologic, chromosomal, and hormonal characteristics. OPPOSE

Status: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote

Certificate of birth; amendment; designation of sex – HB 431 (LaRock): Provides that the designation of sex on a certificate of birth shall only be changed pursuant to an order of a court of competent jurisdiction indicating that the initial designation of sex was incorrect due to a typographical error.OPPOSE

Status: Left in Committee on General Laws

Use of restroom facilities; penalty – HB 663HB 781 (Cole): Requires the Director of the Department of General Services and local school boards to develop and implement policies that require, respectively, that every restroom designated for public use in any public building on property that is owned, leased, or controlled by the Commonwealth and every public school restroom, locker room, and shower room that is designated for use by a specific gender to solely be used by individuals whose anatomical sex matches such gender designation. OPPOSE

Status: Failed to report (defeated) in General Laws (8-Y 14-N)

Marriage licenses; issuance by State Registrar of Vital Records, conscience clause – SB 40(Carrico): Provides that a clerk or deputy clerk shall not be required to issue a marriage license if such clerk has an objection to the issuance of such license on personal, ethical, moral, or religious grounds.Read more here. OPPOSE

Status: Left in Courts of Justice

 

END DISCRIMINATION

Virginia Human Rights Act; nondiscrimination in public employment – SB 12 (Ebbin and McEachin): Prohibits discrimination in public employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, as defined in the bill. Read more here. SUPPORT

Status: House: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote

Fair Housing Law; unlawful discriminatory housing practices, sexual orientation, etc – HB 300(Simon), SB 67 (Wexton): Adds discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity as an unlawful discriminatory housing practice. The bill defines “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Read more here. SUPPORT

HB 300 Status: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote

SB 67 Status: House: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote

Virginia Human Rights Act; prohibited discrimination in employment – HB 179 (Kory), HB 429(Villanueva): Prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation. The bill defines “sexual orientation” as a person’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, or gender identity or expression. SUPPORT WITH AMENDED  LANGUAGE

Status: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote

Prohibited discrimination in employment and housing – HB 913 (Toscano): Prohibits discrimination in private or public employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. SUPPORT

Status: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote

Virginia Human Rights Act; public employment, public accommodation, and housing – HB 1005(Levine): Prohibits discrimination in employment and public accommodation on the basis of sexual orientation. The bill defines “sexual orientation” as a person’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, or gender identity or expression. SUPPORT WITH AMENDED  LANGUAGE

Status: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote

BUILD SAFE COMMUNITIES

Hate crimes; reporting to State Police – HB 35 (Sullivan), SB 82 (Favola): Includes within the definition of “hate crime” a criminal act committed against a person because of sexual orientation or gender identification and requires the reporting of the commission of such crime to the State Police.Read more here. SUPPORT

HB 35 Status: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote

SB 82 Status: Passed by indefinitely (killed) in Courts of Justice (9-Y 6-N)

UPDATE VIRGINIA’S LAWS TO REFLECT MARRIAGE EQUALITY

Same-sex marriages; civil unions – HB 5 (Simon), SB 10 (Ebbin): Repeals existing obsolete law banning same-sex marriages and civil unions. Read more here. SUPPORT

HB 5 Status: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote

SB 10 Status: Continued to 2017 in Courts of Justice (13-Y 1-N)

Constitutional amendment (first resolution); marriage – SJ 2 (Ebbin), SJ 9 (Locke), SJ 32(McEachin): Proposes the repeal of the constitutional amendment dealing with marriage that was approved by referendum at the November 2006 election. Read more here. SUPPORT

Status:  Continued to 2017 in Privileges and Elections (12-Y 0-N)

END CONVERSION THERAPY

Conversion therapy; prohibited, no state funds shall be expended for purpose of therapy – HB 427(Hope), SB 262 (Surovell), SB 267 (Dance): Prohibits any health care provider or person who performs counseling as part of his training for any profession licensed by a regulatory board of the Department of Health Professions from engaging in conversion therapy with any person under 18 years of age.SUPPORT

Status HB 427: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table by voice vote

Status SB 262, 267: Passed by indefinitely (killed) in Education and Health (8-Y 5-N)