RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia legislative panel has killed a so-called “conscience clause” bill that would have allowed widespread discrimination against the LGBT community under the guise of religious freedom.
The measure, brought by career anti-gay lawmaker Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas) — who co-authored the state’s 2006 constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage — would have allowed private businesses to discriminate against “homosexual behavior.”
The bill died Thursday in a House General Laws subcommittee after the five delegates sitting on the panel, all Republicans, unanimously voted to table the proposal.
Under the bill, a person would not be required to “perform, assist, consent to, or participate in any action” as a condition of “obtaining or renewing a government-issued license, registration, or certificate” if such actions would “violate the religious or moral convictions of such person with respect to same-sex marriage or homosexual behavior.”
Article continues below
Marshall said he was disappointed with the bill’s defeat: “[LGBT groups] want to compel a forced acceptance of behavior that for thousands of years people have found to be immoral and gravely harmful to the individual and common good,” said Marshall.
While the Richmond-based Christian group The Family Foundation was present for Thursday’s hearing, they did not speak in support of Marshall’s bill.
“I think that [The Family Foundation] wants to protect Republicans more than they want to protect the policy of protecting the family first,” said Marshall, who stated a continued interest in the bill saying, “if at first you don’t succeed, try again.”