It’s a historic time in Virginia. For the first time ever, the governor has signed legislation to protect LGBTQ Virginians from discrimination—the Virginia Values Act!
The Virginia Values Act (Senate Bill 868) is a huge step forward in the movement to ensure that everyone is welcome in Virginia, no matter who they are or who they love. Not only did winning nondiscrimination protections in Virginia change the lives of LGBTQ Virginians forever, it will build momentum for nondiscrimination protections nationwide.
For years, House leadership blocked bills like the Virginia Values Act, even though a supermajority of Virginians support protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination. For the first time, LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections cleared both the House and Senate—with bipartisan support—and with the House Speaker herself as a chief co-patron.
Opponents of LGBTQ freedom sprung into action asking to add harmful amendments to the bill. They called and emailed the Governor just to weaken the bill. But our community came too far to let that happen. The Virginia Values coalition, made up of groups like Equality Virginia, Freedom for All Americans, and HRC, fought back and urged the Governor to sign the Virginia Values Act into law with no amendments.
And it worked. The bill passed in its absolute best form. We now have clear, strong nondiscrimination protections in Virginia with protections for religious freedom and for businesses.
We can officially celebrate! Governor Northam’s signature made Virginia the first state in the South and 21st in the nation to ensure LGBTQ people are explicitly protected from discrimination. We can carry this momentum forward to win nondiscrimination in the remaining states without protections for LGBTQ people. Sign up for Equality Federation’s email list to stay posted on news and updates that matter to you.