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Virginia Senate Democrats Lead Passage of Employment Non-Discrimination Bill

by: lowkell

Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 12:58:33 PM EST

From the Virginia Senate Democratic caucus...


All 20 Democratic Senators support legislation 
sponsored by Sen. McEachin and Sen. Ebbin

RICHMOND, VA — On a 24-16 vote today the Virginia Senate passed landmark employment protections for LGBT Virginians in state government. There are currently no protections in law for LGBT citizens who are discriminated against on the job in Virginia government. 

Senator Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) said, "This bill would write into the law a fundamental Virginia value, equal protection, and protect all state employees against being discriminated against for any reason.  I am glad the Senate voted today for SB 701. The time has come for Virginia law to reflect the will of the majority of Virginia's citizens."

Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) said, "In 1970, Governor Linwood Holton signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination in state employment. 35 years later, Governor Mark Warner signed an executive order expanding those protections to include sexual orientation, and Governor Tim Kaine's first executive order did the same. No state employee should ever doubt Virginia's commitment to equal opportunity employment for all. This bill assures state employees that they will be judged solely on their merits and that discrimination has no place in Virginia."
lowkell :: Virginia Senate Democrats Lead Passage of Employment Non-Discrimination Bill
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Statement from Sen. Ebbin on Nondiscrimination Bill Passing VA Senate (0.00 / 0)
Nondiscrimination Bill Passes Virginia Senate

Ebbin and McEachin Bill Would Codify Protections for LGBT State Employees

Richmond, VA - Senate Bill 701, a measure to protect Virginia's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) state employees from workplace discrimination, passed the Senate today with a 24-16 vote.

"We're going to press forward with this momentum," said Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), a co-chief patron of the bill. "No state employee should ever doubt Virginia's commitment to equal opportunity for all. This assures state employees that they will be judged solely on their merits and that discrimination has no place in Virginia." Ebbin first sponsored similar legislation in 2007 as a member of the House of Delegates and has done so every year since.

The bill has received support from 46 co-patrons in both the Senate and House of Delegates. Equality Virginia, who lobbied in support of SB701, recorded over 11,000 messages to General Assembly members in support of the legislation.

Of Virginia's top 25 private employers, at least 80 percent have nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation and 60 percent also include gender identity. The legislation, if passed by the House and signed by the Governor, would ensure that LGBT state employees are awarded the same protections against discrimination as are employees at a majority of top private sector companies in Virginia. The bill would also codify prohibitions against any "state agency, institution, board, bureau, commission, council, or instrumentality of the Commonwealth" from discriminating in employment based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, or veteran status.

Speaking about SB701, Senator Ebbin emphasized that "it is time Virginia law reflect the opinion of its citizenry." Similarly, Senator Don McEachin (D-Henrico)-the other co-chief patron-commented that "the people must continue to lead the legislature and remind the House that Virginia is an open state and welcoming to all folks as we move this bill ahead."

Ebbin noted that in 1970, Governor Lynwood Holton signed the first executive order prohibiting discrimination in state employment, but that it was not until 35 years later when Governor Mark Warner issued an executive order expanding those protections to include sexual orientation. Governor Tim Kaine reissued that executive order upon taking office, but Governor McDonnell did not include sexual orientation in his order.

In a statement, now-U.S. Senator Warner lauded the Senate vote and wrote: "Today, the principles of equal opportunity and fairness represent official policy for virtually every major employer in Virginia and across the country. I am very, very pleased today to see the Virginia Senate approve this commonsense protection for Virginia's LGBT workers, making equal opportunity for state and local government employees a permanent part of the Code of Virginia so that it does not have to be renewed every four years through an executive order."

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