News (USA)

Bill protecting Virginia LGBT state employees moves to Senate floor

RICHMOND, Va. — A bill that would extend protections to Virgina state employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, was moved out of committee on Monday and will be scheduled for a vote in the state Senate.

The bill, SB 701, was approved by the General Laws and Technology Committee by a narrow vote of 8-7.

Virginia state capitol in Richmond.

“We’re glad the committee listened to the thousands of Virginians that messaged their delegates and senators on this issue,” said James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia. “Now, we must continue spreading the word about the importance of workplace protections for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender state employees to move this out of the Senate.”

The bill, introduced by state Sens. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) and Adam Ebbin (D-Arlington, Va.), has received support from 46 co-patrons in both chambers of the General Assembly.

Equality Virginia reported last week that the General Assembly has received over 11,000 constituent messages in support of the legislation.

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“We’re extraordinarily pleased members of the Senate recognize no Virginian should face discrimination because of who they are or who they love,” said Anna Scholl, executive director of ProgressVA. “Protecting all state employees from workplace discrimination brings Virginia into line with the private sector standard and ensures we can recruit the best and brightest to lead our Commonwealth forward.”

Of Virginia’s top 25 private employers, 80 percent have policies protecting at least sexual orientation and 60 percent also protect gender identity and expression.

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