Virginia Governor Signs Executive Order Protecting LGBTQ State Workers and Contractors

By Shane Stahl • January 17, 2018 • 11:24 am

Only hours after being sworn in on January 13,Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed multiple executive orders to begin immediately, including one updating rules regarding LGBTQ state employees and contractors.

Previously, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a similar executive order during his time in office; however, it neither included state contractors nor language regarding gender expression. Northam’s new order, Executive Order 1, adds gender expression to its protected classes and extends all protections to contractors as well. Violations of the order will be handled through the the Office of Equal Employment Services of the Department of Human Resource Management.

In his inaugural address, Northam stated:

“Our history is complex in Virginia. It includes good things, and bad. This unique heritage endows us with a responsibility to shape the future—to leave this place better than we found it. That’s the Virginia way.”

Northam’s order, coupled with other recent developments, indicate that Virginia may soon address the issue of statewide non-discrimination protections. In November, Danica Roem became the first openly transgender person in the country to be elected to state office when she won her race for a seat in the State Assembly. Additionally, Delegate Mark Levine has submitted HB 401 for consideration this legislative session, which would provide statewide comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

To learn the history of non-discrimination protections in Virginia, and keep up with the latest in the state, click here.

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