Historic Vote in Virginia State Senate Advances Non-Discrimination Legislation One Step Closer to PassageBy Shane Stahl • January 26, 2018 • 1:32 pm
In a historic vote, the Virginia State Senate has passed legislation updating state law to protect LGBTQ Virginians in both public employment and housing.
Senate Bill 202, sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), would ban discrimination against LGBTQ people in public employment. Senator Jennifer Wexton (D-Loudon County) sponsored Senate Bill 423, which would add both sexual orientation and gender identity to the existing Virginia Fair Housing Code.
Both bills now move to the House of Delegates for final passage. Governor Ralph Northam is expected to sign both bills should they make it to his desk; after being sworn in, Northam signed an executive order extending non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ state employees and contractors.
Non-discrimination bills have previously made it through the Senate three times, but did not advance through the House of Delegates. However, a recent legislative shakeup in the 2017 election has shifted the tide significantly in the House, which may yield more momentum for passage of both pieces of legislation this year.
Congratulations to Equality Virginia and local advocates across the state who have worked for years to make the case for these critical protections! To follow all pending legislation regarding non-discrimination across the country, visit our Legislative Tracker here.