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Senate passes LGBT workplace protection bill

GAYPRIDE

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — The senate bill to protect state employees who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender from discrimination in the workplace has passed the state senate 24-16. 

Now, the bill moves forward to the House of Delegates.

Senators Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) and Adam Ebbin (D- Alexandria) introduced bill SB 701 Thursday, Jan. 17.  

“We’re going to press forward with this momentum,” said Senator Ebbin, in a press release issued by Equality Virginia. “No state employee should ever doubt Virginia’s commitment to equal opportunity employment for all. This assures state employees that they will be judged solely on their merits and that discrimination has no place in Virginia.”

Unlike many businesses in the private sector, the senators said Virginia does not currently offer workplace protections for the LGBT community.

“The people of Virginia are for this and is so often the case, the people of Virginia are going to have to lead the legislature in this regard,” said McEachin.

Sen. Mark Warner issued a press release with the following statement:

“In 2005, I was proud to be the first Virginia Governor to protect gay workers at state agencies from discrimination in hiring and promotions. I viewed it as a powerful tool for recruiting and retaining top talent across state government.”

“Today, the principals 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.”

Last week, CBS 6 requested a comment from the Governor Bob McDonnell on the proposed legislation. We were not given a direct statement, but we were referred to an Executive Directive the governor handed down early in his administration.

Click here to read the full directive.

YEAS: A. Donald McEachin, Adam P. Ebbin, Kenneth C. Alexander, George L. Barker, R. Creigh Deeds, John S. Edwards, Barbara A. Favola, Mark R. Herring, Janet D. Howell, Mamie E. Locke, David W. Marsden, Henry L. Marsh III, John C. Miller, Ralph S. Northam, Phillip P. Puckett, Linda T. Puller, Richard L. Saslaw, Charles Colgan, Jill Holtzman Vogel, Chap Petersen, Louise L. Lucas, John Watkins, Thomas Norment, Frank Wagner

NAYS: Frank Ruff, Richard Black, Thomas Garrett, Stephen Martin, Bryce Reeves, Walter Stosch, Richard Stuart, Harry B. Blevins, Charles W. Carrico, Emmett W. Hanger, Jr., Ryan McDougle, Jeffrey McWaters, Stephen D. Newman, Jr., Ralph Smith, William M. Stanley, Mark D. Obenshain