Search Results

LGBTQ + YOU: Info Session

From sexual orientation to gender identity, LGBTQ + You will explore terminology and hot-topic issues in a fun and interactive way, with ample time for a question and answer period.

We’ll wrap up with next steps you can take right now to build a more LGBT-friendly VA.

All are welcome! LGBTQ community members, allies, and folks with questions or interest in supporting the community are encouraged to attend.

2018 Equality Virginia Commonwealth Dinner

 

If you were one of the nearly 1,000 people who attended the 15th Annual Commonwealth Dinner on April 14th presented by Altria Group, thank you for being there to celebrate our victories, learn more about the challenges ahead, and honor our OUTstanding Virginians. EV’s staff and board felt the support of all who gathered with us! The evening would not have been possible without you.

This year’s Dinner served to showcase the vitality of Virginia’s LGBT community. Because of you, Equality Virginia raised almost $300,000 to help us safeguard equality’s momentum in the Commonwealth by standing up for LGBT Virginians at the General Assembly, furthering transgender visibility, and increasing pro-LGBT business participation. We broke records with our text-to-give portion of the evening raising more than $42,000. You can still help us grow that total and add your name to the virtual board. Just text EQVA to 243725 to give!

Keep reading to find out about all the exciting things that happened Saturday night. And check out the incredible photos from the evening on our Facebook photo album.


We celebrated LGBT affirming legislators and groundbreaking out candidates …

Each year at the Commonwealth Dinner it is an honor to welcome elected leaders from across the state who support equality. It was our pleasure this year to see numerous public officials, including US Congressmen Donald McEachin and Bobby Scott, Virginia’s Attorney General Mark Herring, and Governor Ralph Northam. With protections for LGBT Virginians in striking distance, we are grateful to have the bipartisan support of leaders from all over the Commonwealth. With your advocacy—and these affirming legislators—we will keep moving equality forward.

At the Dinner, Governor Ralph Northam spoke of the need for a welcoming and inclusive Virginia. We’re grateful to have had the support of Governor since his first day in office when he signed Executive Order 1 prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in state government.

2017 saw a record-breaking number of out LGBT candidates on the ballot for Virginia’s House of Delegates. At the Dinner, we took a moment to recognize them including the four out members of the House of Delegates: Dawn Adams, Mark Levine, Danica Roem, and Mark Sickles.

 

 


We recognized our OUTstanding Virginians …

 

Every year Equality Virginia shines a spotlight on those who have dedicated their lives to fighting for equality. The 2018 honorees have been on the front-lines for fairness, improving their communities and striving for a more inclusive Virginia. These individuals and organizations have educated, advocated, and demonstrated what it means to truly be an OUTstanding Virginian. Watch the video below to learn more about these OUTstanding Virginians!

 



We were inspired by a transgender veteran’s story …

Ann Murdoch, a member of our Transgender Advocacy Speakers Bureau, took the stage to share a journey of self-discovery, complete with a knight, terrible dragons, and triumphant princess. She likened the advocates and supporters of Equality Virginia to the great rainbow army that helped her defeat the dragons of shame and discrimination. We’ve all heard inspiring stories about a transgender person’s journey towards self-acceptance and happiness, but Ann’s unique perspective helped us shine a light on how transgender military bans impact our neighbors, friends, and loved ones right here in Virginia.

 

 


We gave a glimpse into our Day of Action …

Our 2018 Day of Action was on February 5 and gave attendees a chance to address issues important to them directly with their legislators and their staffs. We debuted the Day of Action video at the Commonwealth Dinner so that attendees could see just how vital is it to connect with elected leaders. Click below to watch!

 


We kicked up our heels …



 


 

 

Decorum logo blueyellowgreen 1
 

 

Print
   

 

 

ErnstYounglogo  

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

KMX_logo_inBox_2color_wreginbox  

 
 

 

 

 

 Prime TImers
side by side logo VAPride_logo_vector_TransparentBack
 

wmlogo

 
   
 

 

PWC Proud 2017

Equality Virginia returns to Prince William County for PWC Proud—a week of activities for LGBT residents and allies in PWC. We hope that you can join us for one or more of these exciting events planned in your area! 


Saturday, June 17, 2017: Equality Means Business Celebration

Join Equality Virginia staff and volunteers, as well as community leaders, for a visit to your favorite PWC businesses encouraging them to become a part of Equality Means Business (EMB), a collection of local business across Virginia that are safe and welcoming for LGBT people to work and shop. After some brief stops at a few stores in downtown Manassas, have a drink on EV to celebrate the new sign-ups at Bad Wolf Public House.

11:00 AM: Meet at Bad Wolf Public House (9406 Battle Street, Manassas, VA) and hit the streets with us for EMB
12:00 PM: Gather back at Bad Wolf Public House for a brief program
12:15 PM: Hang out at Bad Wolf Public House and celebrate with a drink on EV !

Click here for more information and to RSVP.

Monday, June 19, 2017: Manassas City Council Proclamation of June as LGBT Pride Month

The Manassas City Council will issue an official proclamation recognizing June as LGBT Pride Month and honoring LGBT members of the community. This is the first recognition of its kind in the City’s history! Wear purple for pride and join EV along with your fellow community members to celebrate this historic event.

6:45 PM: Meet EV in the Manassas City Council Lobby (9027 Center St., Manassas, VA) and wear purple!
7:00 PM: Proclamation of Pride Month, immediately followed by a celebratory drink at Bad Wolf Public House (9406 Battle Street, Manassas, VA)

Click here for more information and to RSVP.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017: PWC School Board Non-Discrimination Policy Hearing

On June 21st, 2017 at 5:30 PM EV will be on hand at the Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center (14715 Bristow Road, Manassas, VA) for the Prince William County School Board Meeting (meeting begins at 7:00 PM). The school board will be voting to amend the nondiscrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Wear your purple one more time and attend this meeting to show your support for PWC students and staff.

Click here for more information and to RSVP.


We looking forward to seeing you soon!

 

Local Action Kit

Local Action Kit

Equality Means Business

Equality Means Business showcases local businesses Virginia that embrace diversity among employees and clientele. These businesses sign a pledge not to turn away any customers or deny or restrict employment based upon their sexual orientation or gender identity. Click here to find businesses near you.

Inclusive Schools

Learn about the work we are doing at the local school level and how you can be involved in your community–from starting a GSA to discussing policy with your school board.


Local Leaders

Find out if your local elected officials have signed our statement of support for non-discrimination protections.



Contact My Legislator

We make it easy for you to send a message to your Virginia representatives to let them know they must keep LGBT equality a priority in policy-making.

Host a House Party for Equality

Host party for us! Invite your friends to tell them about the work we do on behalf of LGBT Virginians.



Make a Contribution to Equality Virginia Today

EV works with elected officials, from your local town hall to the executive mansion, to fight for all LGBT Virginians.  We continue to safeguard equality’s momentum in the Commonwealth, but we can’t do it without you!

Resources for Connecting with Local Leaders

Resources for Connecting with Local Leaders

EV believes that change starts at the local level. Learn more about the leaders in your community—from school board members to mayors—and why it’s important to talk them about the issues that matter to you.


Local Leaders for Fairness

The majority of Virginians and business leaders in the Commonwealth agree that including protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, public accommodations, and the workplace makes Virginia a more welcoming and inclusive place.

However, Virginia has no such protections. Equality Virginia engages with leaders at every level of government to advocate for the basic human right of all LGBT individuals to be free from discrimination.

Click here to see a list of local officials who have signed Equality Virginia’s statement supporting legislation to protect LGBT in the areas of housing, public accommodations, and the workplace.


Local School Board Work

District Map Updated 09.26.2016Equality Virginia believes that all students and school employees have the right to feel safe in their educational environment or workplace, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. The map below shows the Virginia counties where students and staff are protected from discrimination and those counties where there is work still to be done.

Our Safe Schools work includes providing educational documents and personal stories, facilitating training, phone calls, letters, and meetings with school board members and administrative officials, sending membership emails, and participation in public forums. Protecting students and employees in schools takes teamwork, to find out how you be a part of the changes be made be emailing us at [email protected].

Creating Inclusive Schools

Creating Inclusive Schools

Equality Virginia believes that all students and school employees have the right to feel safe in their educational environment or workplace, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. 


Current Status

Currently, thirteen school districts in Virginia have non-discrimination protections for students and employees that include sexual orientation and gender identity: Albermarle, Charlottesville, Loudoun, Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Chuch, Fairfax, Manassas, Manassas Park, Prince William, Richmond, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach. This accounts for more than 35% of Virginia’s public school students and employees are protected based on their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

Many school districts don’t realize they have the power to protect LGBT students and employee through policy updates. Due to Attorney General Mark Herring’s 2015 opinion on school boards’ authority, localities are able to enact nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity.

View a PDF version here.


Our Work

Equality Virginia works with public school districts across Virginia to update bullying and nondiscrimination policies so that they include both sexual orientation and gender identity & expression.

A 2017 survey from GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network) shows that verbal harassment decreases significantly in schools with LGBTQ-inclusive anti-bullying policies. Additionally, employees of these districts are more likely to intervene when they witness instances of harassment. Therefore, we believe it is in the school district’s best interests to implement comprehensive nondiscrimination policies to protect students in the state of Virginia.

Our Safe Schools work includes sharing educational documents and personal stories, facilitating training, phone calls, letters, and meetings with school board members and administrative officials, sending membership emails, and participation in public comment periods. We work to ensure every LGBTQ student has a fair chance to succeed in school and prepare for their future. Every child should be treated fairly and equally under the law.


Bring Inclusivity to Your School


More Actions


Resources

To Learn More:

  • Schools in Transition, A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schools. Expansive, detailed guide on how to help schools become more inclusive for gender diversity in ways that benefit all students.
  • Transgender Students and Bathrooms, Gender Spectrum. Being able to feel safe in everyday spaces in incredibly important for trans youth. Check out this guide for understanding how to make bathrooms accessible for trans students and why it matters.

Student Support: 

OUTstanding Virginians


OUTstanding Virginians are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied individuals or organizations taking the lead in moving equality forward across the Commonwealth. In light of the importance of being out to the LGBT movement, each year Equality Virginia recognizes leaders who have represented the community with distinction.

Statistics show that knowing someone within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community increases support for LGBT rights. This positive correlation makes coming out a critical component of the LGBT movement’s future progress.

The EV Board of Directors has selected the 2018 honorees from dozens of nominees. These seven individuals and organizations were honored at our 15th Annual Commonwealth Dinner on April 14! Watch the video below to learn more about them!

Amy Adams is a mother of three whose daughter Morgan came out as transgender at the age of 10. Since then, Amy has worked to mobilize her Stafford County neighbors in opposition to discriminatory school policies and address anti-trans legislation with her representatives at the General Assembly. Amy started a He, She, Ze, and We group in Fredericksburg and runs a Facebook group for Virginia parents of transgender youth. Last year, Amy founded Equality Stafford which has successfully advocated for her county’s school board to form an Equality, Diversity, and Opportunity Committee and is helping the county update its nondiscrimination policies. Amy is currently leading a campaign to make sure all Stafford County schools have GSAs.
Michael Berlucchi serves on the Hampton Roads Pride Board of Directors as Immediate Past President and has fulfilled numerous leadership roles within the organization, including president, vice president, chairman of PrideFest, chairman and co-founder of the Pride Block Party, and chairman of the Events and Communications committees. Michael is the Community Engagement Manager at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, where he creates and implements educational programs designed to expand and diversify museum audiences. He is an appointed member of Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission and serves on the Board of Directors of Teens With a Purpose, and the Norfolk Tourism Research Foundation.
Rev. Emma Chattin became an ordained minister in MCC (Metropolitan Community Churches) in 2004, a denomination founded by and for the GLBTIQQ communities, and she currently serves as the Pastor for the MCC of Northern Virginia in Fairfax City. Emma is also the Executive Director of the TransGender Education Association of Greater Washington DC (TGEA) whose mission is to support individuals in transition and the communities into which they are transitioning. Rev. Chattin is founding co-facilitator of several support groups for the transgender population, among them, parents of trans-youth, and trans & gender-expansive tweens & teens.
Lisa Cumbey has given her marketing and design talents to groups serving the LGBT community since the 1980s. Her mostly pro bono creative work for organizations is estimated at over $1 million and includes work around HIV/AIDS educational materials, Richmond’s very earliest Pride parades on Cary Street, and the area’s first LGBT chamber of commerce—Central Virginia Business and Professional Guild, among others. She was part of the design and rebranding team for Diversity Richmond and was instrumental in creating their Iridian Gallery, the only art gallery in the south with the sole mission of supporting LGBT artists. The gallery recently featured the artwork of her late brother, J. Alan Cumbey, who died of AIDS in 1992. Lisa donated all proceeds from the sale of her brother’s work to Diversity Richmond.
Zakia McKensey is the founder of Nationz Foundation, a nonprofit providing HIV prevention and overall wellness education while inspiring the community to take responsibility for their health. Nationz also works to create a more inclusive Central Virginia for LGBTQIA+ individuals. As someone personally affected by HIV/AIDS—through the loss of friends and loved ones—she felt compelled to educate herself and others, and since then has operated in the field of HIV prevention and education. Zakia has also worked for 26 years as a performer, holding a total of 180 titles, including Miss Club Colors, Miss Fieldens, Miss Godfreys, and Miss Peach State International.
Jim O’Connor has been a resident of Prince William County since 1971 and has long been active in his community. He is the current president of Equality Prince William (EPW) which seeks to assure fair treatment for every individual in the county. The group successfully urged the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park recognize June as LGBT Pride Month. They also recruited over 40 new PWC businesses to participate in EV’s Equality Means Business program. Jim is an Army veteran who served in Vietnam and worked as Senior Director for International Trade Policy at the American Chemistry Council.
Richmond Triangle Players exists to change the community’s conversation about diversity and inclusion through the production of LGBTQ-themed works. A nonprofit, professional theatre company organized in 1993, RTP delivers adventurous and entertaining theater as the leading voice in the community’s explorations of equality, identity, affection, and family, across sexual orientation and gender and is the only professional theatre company in the entire Mid-Atlantic region which expressly and regularly serves the LGBTQ community.

 

 

Video image

Click here to learn more last year’s OUTstanding Virginians

 


 

Meet other from honorees from previous years:


 

2016

Meet 2016's OUTstanding Virginians ►
 photo of video for website

2015

Meet 2015's OUTstanding Virginians ►

 outstanding-VA-video-for-website

2014

Meet 2014's OUTstanding Virginians ►

2013

Meet 2013's OUTstanding Virginians ►

2012

Meet 2012's OUTstanding Virginians ►

2011

Meet 2011's OUTstanding Virginians ►

2010

Meet 2010's OUTstanding Virginians ►

2009

Meet 2009's OUTstanding Virginians ►
  • Rita Mae Brown – Crozet-based screenwriter and author, most notably of “Rubyfruit Jungle”.
  • Clarence Cain – UVA Law School graduate whose life and death from HIV/AIDS inspired the 1993 film “Philadelphia”.
  • Meg Christian – Women’s music icon and founder of Olivia Records.
  • Marge Connelly – Financial industry executive.
  • Adam Ebbin – First openly gay member of Virginia’s General Assembly and founder of Virginia Partisans Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club.
  • Jay Fisette – First openly gay elected official in Virginia and Arlington County Board member.
  • Billy Haines – First openly gay Hollywood actor, during the silent movie era.
  • Claus Ihlemann – Norfolk activist and owner of Decorum Furniture.
  • Jon Klein – Founder of Diversity Thrift and Richmond Organization for Sexual Minority Youth (ROSMY).
  • Beth Marschak – Richmond activist, author, and historian.
  • Lucy Randolph Mason – Labor organizer who helped pass 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Diane Schroer – Winner of landmark transgender workplace discrimination case.
  • Tony Segura and Marsh Harris Segura – Tony was the founder of the Mattachine Society and Marsh was a prolific author of gay pulp fiction.
  • L.A. “Shep” Shepherd and Norma Hofheimer – Mid-century lesbian activist couple from Richmond.
  • Wanda Sykes – Emmy-award winning writer and comedian/actress.
  • Tracy Thorne-Begland – Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell activist and Deputy Commonwealth Attorney of Richmond.
  • Lawrence Webb – First openly gay black elected official in Virginia and Falls Church City Council member.
  • Charles Whitebread – Former UVA law professor and LGBT philanthropist.
  • Mel White and Gary Nixon – Founders of Lynchburg-based Soulforce.
  • Bob Witeck – Northern Virginia business owner and LGBT media consultant.

Equality Virginia At The General Assembly

ga-2017-slider

VIRGINIA’S GENERAL ASSEMBLY

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 backward.

You can be involved by participating in Equality Virginia’s Day of Action on February 7, 2017—mark your calendars! The Day of Action empowers LGBT and allied Virginians to create positive change, meet legislators and discuss legislation, and attend workshops hosted by some of the area’s top attorneys and fellow activists.

The General Assembly session for 2017 begins on Wednesday, January 11. We track bills as they are filed and will update this page with the legislation’s progress. Check back for updates and make sure you’re on our list to receive action updates. To date, relevant bills that have so far been filed include:

UPDATE VIRGINIA’S LAWS TO REFLECT MARRIAGE EQUALITY

Same-sex marriages; civil unions – HB 1395 (Sickles), SB 782 (Ebbin): Repeals existing obsolete law banning same-sex marriages and civil unions. Read more here. EV SUPPORTS

Constitutional amendment (first resolution); marriage – HJ 538 (Sickles),  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.  EV SUPPORTS

END DISCRIMINATION

Virginia Human Rights Act; nondiscrimination in public employment – SB 783 (Ebbin): Prohibits discrimination in public employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, as defined in the bill. Read more here. EV SUPPORTS

Fair Housing Law; unlawful discriminatory housing practices, sexual orientation, etc – SB 822 (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. EV SUPPORTS


 

Click here to receive our e-mails and stay updated during session and beyond.

View last year's General Assembly action!
We were successful in killing all of bad bills this session, but unfortunately none of the bills that we supported passed out of the House this 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)


Additional Resources

 

Equality Virginia at the General Assembly 2016

The State Capitol of Virginia with landscaped lawn

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.

Click here to receive our e-mails and stay updated during session and beyond.

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)

Equality Virginia applauds Attorney General opinion regarding discrimination in Virginia

June 21st, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RICHMOND, Va. (May 10, 2016) – In an official opinion issued today, May 10, the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Mark Herring, has concluded that:

  1. To the extent that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is recognized by federal courts and agencies as impermissible sex discrimination under federal anti-discrimination laws, such conduct would also violate the Virginia Human Rights Act which explicitly makes any violation of federal anti-discrimination law a concurrent violation of state law.
  2. With respect to other anti-discrimination measures in Virginia law, the same rationale leading federal courts and agencies to increasingly recognize that, in many circumstances, discrimination against LGBT Americans can constitute impermissible sex discrimination would most likely lead a Virginia court to reach the same conclusion.

This opinion was issued in response to inquiries by Delegates Dave LaRock and Ken Plum and Senator Tom Garrett.

Following the release of the opinion, Equality Virginia’s Executive Director James Parrish said in response, “Equality Virginia praises Attorney General Herring’s thoughtful, comprehensive analysis of current state and federal law that confirms that LGBT Virginians are protected from discrimination based on sex – including sexual orientation and gender identity – under the Virginia Human Rights Act.”

James Parrish continued, “Protecting gay and transgender Virginians from discrimination does not require expanding the definition of sex and gender but only that we apply existing federal law to LGBT people. Although these protections are increasingly clear based on federal law and judicial decisions, we will also continue to call on the Virginia legislature to make these protections even more explicit under state law.”

According to a release accompanying the opinion, The Virginia Human Rights Act uniquely makes all violations of federal civil rights law a concurrent violation of state law by stating that “Conduct that violates any Virginia or federal statute or regulation governing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, or disability shall be an ‘unlawful discriminatory practice’ for the purposes of this chapter.”

Therefore, because federal courts and agencies are regularly finding discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity to be illegal sex discrimination, any such conduct that violates relevant federal anti-discrimination laws is a concurrent violation of the Virginia Human Rights Act.

Attorney General Herring issued the following statement regarding the opinion:

“The General Assembly has recognized the right of every Virginian to live, learn, and work without fear of discrimination by enacting the Virginia Human Rights Act and other anti-discrimination statutes.

“The law in this area has developed rapidly and the clear trajectory has been towards a more inclusive understanding of sex discrimination that encompasses discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This growing body of case law has not required an expansion of the definition of ‘sex’ or ‘gender.’ It has merely required courts to apply well-established prohibitions against sex discrimination and gender stereotyping to LGBT Americans.

“The private sector has been saying clearly for years that it will not tolerate discrimination against LGBT employees, and our nation’s courts are increasingly recognizing that discrimination against LGBT Americans is inconsistent with the language and the very purpose of some of our most important civil rights protections.

“We don’t need to look far to see the division, discord, and pain that can happen when a state tries to enshrine discrimination against certain people it fears or does not understand. In recent years, Virginia has rejected this kind of misguided and sometimes mean-spirited approach. As the courts continue to put away the vestiges of discrimination and unequal treatment, I hope we will continue to show that Virginia rejects discrimination and welcomes all who would call our Commonwealth home. ”

###

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.