HRC responded to a shameful decision by Virginia Speaker of the House Kirk Cox, Majority Chairman Tim Hugo and other leaders in the House of Delegates, who refused to bring up commonsense LGBTQ non-discrimination protections for a vote in the General Laws committee. The two bills, HB 2677 and HB 2067, would add these crucial, commensense protections for LGBTQ Virginians in housing and public employment, respectively. Similar bills have passed the Virginia Senate several years in a row, including this year, with bipartisan support. According to recent polling, both measures have majority support from Republicans in Virginia. Over the past several elections, HRC has successfully elected pro-equality champions at every level of Virginia’s state government and will continue to do engage in this important work this November.
“It’s shameful that Speaker Cox, Majority Caucus Chairman Tim Hugo and leaders in the House of Delegates continue to use every political trick in the book to kill these crucial, commonsense non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Virginians,” said Marty Rouse, HRC National Field Director. “For several years in a row, bills that would protect LGBTQ Virginians from discrimination in housing and public employment have passed the state Senate, but House leadership continues to obfuscate the political process and obstruct this legislation. Let’s be clear: Cox is using LGBTQ people as political pawns. This fall, voters in Virginia will head to the polls to elect their state representatives. If current leaders cowardly refuse to protect all Virginians, then voters will elect lawmakers who will. We will remember this in November.”
HRC will continue to work with Equality Virginia and other statewide groups to elect pro-equality members at all levels of government in the commonwealth.
On January 18, the Virginia State Senate passed similar legislation that would prohibit discrimination in housing (SB 1009) and public employment (SB 998) on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Following Senate passage, the Virginia Beach Restaurant Association and the Virginia Beach Resort Advisory Commission both issued letters to the legislature supporting these bills. Additionally, business leaders recently took out an ad in the Virginian-Pilot urging the legislature to act to pass this legislation.
In February of 2018, The Tarrance Group, a Republican polling firm that has done extensive work in Virginia and for national Republican candidates, conducted a poll of “base” Republican voters, specifically voters who have participated in at least two out of four of the last Republican primaries in the Commonwealth. They found:
55% of Republican voters believe it “should be against the law to discriminate in housing against someone who is gay or transgender.”
Only 35% opposed. 59% of Republican voters believe it “should be against the law to discriminate in public employment against someone who is gay or transgender.” Only 32% opposed.
Last week, Mason-Dixon, a pollster with a long track record of work in Virginia as well, asked about the same issues in a January 2019 statewide poll. While finding broad support amongst the greater electorate, the pollster again found Republican voters onboard. They found:
53% of Republicans said they would support “legislation at the General Assembly this year that would update Virginia’s nondiscrimination laws to protect gay and transgender people from discrimination in housing.” Only 38% opposed.
63% of Republicans said they would support “legislation at the General Assembly this year that would update Virginia’s nondiscrimination laws to protect gay and transgender people from discrimination in employment.” Only 30% opposed.