Virginia's Rainbow Wave

In early 2019, the commonwealth of Virginia’s anti-equality leadership refused to bring commonsense LGBTQ+ non-discrimination protections up for a vote in committee, despite support from a bipartisan majority of delegates and having an overwhelming approval among Virginians.

The Election

The Human Rights Campaign recognized that Virginia voters were fed up with politicians who insist on playing politics with the lives of LGBTQ+ people. If we wanted change in Virginia, we needed to act. So HRC launched the largest field, digital and direct mail program we have ever developed in Virginia.

HRC endorsed 27 pro-equality candidates across the state House and state Senate — including 18 women and 10 people of color — all with the goal of securing a pro-equality majority in the state legislature and finally passing non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ Virginians.

Over the course of months, we campaigned, we mobilized and we got out the vote across the commonwealth because we knew we could win. And we did. We made history by winning a pro-equality majority in the Virginia General Assembly.

Virginia Values Act

This rainbow wave made way for a Virginia state House and state Senate ready to pass a slate of legislation that would change the lives of millions of Virginians, including explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people. Called the Virginia Values Act, this bill was going to make more history.

It took months of hard work and countless testimonials from citizens across the commonwealth but finally, the bill reached the governor's desk. And once he signed it, Virginia became the first state in the South to have non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, the first state in more than a decade to add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing non-discrimination law and the first state since 1993 to add a prohibition on discrimination in public accommodations where none existed before.

Progress in Virginia taught us that elections have real consequences.

Make sure you are ready to vote to make change.