Senate Democrats Applaud Non-Discrimination Bill
RICHMOND – Senate Democrats are celebrating the passage of legislation that will make significant changes to Virginia’s workplace discrimination laws.
The bill, SB747, which will make sexual orientation a protected class in the state’s non-discrimination employment law, passed 22-18 today in the Senate.
Under the legislation, patroned by Sen. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico), a state employee’s actual or perceived sexuality would not serve as grounds for termination. A similar bill was passed by Senate Democrats last year but was killed in the Republican-dominated House of Delegates.
The Senator urged fellow lawmakers Wednesday to pass the legislation again.
“As lawmakers, it is important for us to ensure that all Virginians are protected from this ugly practice regardless of their race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. Surely, we will be on the right side of history if we pass this bill,” said McEachin.
Last week, Democratic Senate Caucus Chair Mary Margaret Whipple urged Gov. Bob McDonnell to support the bill.
“During such a tough economic times, no Virginian should have to worry about possible threats to their job because of their sexual orientation. Today, I am urging to Governor McDonnell to put his support behind this bill and use his influence with House Republicans to ensure its passage.
This legislation failed in the House last year. State employees are counting on Governor McDonnell to do the right thing and not let this history repeat itself,” said Whipple.