Virginia moved one critical step closer to equality Jan. 25 after the state senate passed SB701, a bill granting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) state residents discrimination protection in the workplace.
As the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) reported, the bill -- which bans discrimination against state employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity -- was approved with a bipartisan vote of 24-16.
Led by the state’s first openly gay senator, Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), the bill now moves on to the House of Delegates.
“We’re going to press forward with this momentum,” Ebbin is quoted as saying in a statement on his website. “No state employee should ever doubt Virginia’s commitment to equal opportunity for all. This assures state employees that they will be judged solely on their merits and that discrimination has no place in Virginia.”
Local LGBT advocacy organization Equality Virginia lobbied in support of the bill, recording over 11,000 messages to General Assembly members backing the progressive law.
Still, In a blog post, HRC officials warned that it would be more difficult with the more conservative chamber.
If passed, the bill would be in line with a number of other recent strides toward equality made elsewhere in the nation. Vicco, the smallest town in Kentucky just recently passed a similar nondiscrimination law. Meanwhile, the Kentucky Equality Federation is reportedly pushing for the state to alter the Civil Rights Act of 1966 with an amendment that would include protection for LGBT residents.