In an email sent to GayRVA, a spokesperson for Governor Terry McAuliffe (top image left) said he would veto two new bills aiming to expand religious freedoms in Virginia.
“Governor McAuliffe believes legislation like this would send the wrong message to people around the globe about the climate Virginia offers businesses and families who may want to locate here,” said Irma Palmer, spokesperson for Governor McAuliffe, about the two bills, submitted by Senator Carrico (top image, right), which aim to make it harder for same-sex couples to marry.
McAuliffe has long said LGBTQ equality is key for the Commonwealth to grow its business markets. Palmer said the Governor supports same-sex marriage and believes “we need to be working to make Virginia more open and welcoming to everyone, not less. Accordingly, he would veto these bills if they pass.”
Two bills by the same Virginia Senator hope to give Virginia county clerks and those allowed to marry people the right to deny marriage licenses and services to same-sex couples if it defies their religious beliefs.
SB 40 and SB 41, both submitted by Senator Charles W. Carrico, Sr. (R-40) from Galax, Virginia, hope to add language which will allowed clerks of the court to “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” and “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.”
In an interview with GayRVA, Carrico said the two bills weren’t asked for by any court clerks or state employees, but the call for action came from his constituents, who he said voted firmly in 2006 to support Virginia’s debunked ban on same-sex marriage.
“I have 200,000 constituents that a vast majority supported marriage as between one man and and one woman,” he said. “They elected me to represent their values and their beliefs and that’s what I’m representing.”