Lt. Governor candidate Hala Ayala & Attorney General Mark Herring Key to LGBTQ+ Progress In Virginia
Today, the Human Rights Campaign PAC (HRC PAC) announced its endorsement of three statewide candidates in Virginia: Terry McAuliffe for Governor, Hala Ayala for Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General Mark Herring for re-election. Virginia’s statewide general election is November 2nd with early voting beginning September 17th. The Human Rights Campaign’s support for pro-equality candidates up and down the ticket makes clear a commitment to mobilize Virginia’s 1.2 million Equality Voters and elect leaders who will fight for LGBTQ+ Virginians.
Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President of Policy & Political Affairs, JoDee Winterhof issued the following statement:
“All Virginians deserve leaders who will fight for their rights to achieve health and success regardless of who they are or who they love. The Human Rights Campaign is proud to endorse incredible champions who have spent their careers delivering on that promise of equality.
“Governor Terry McAuliffe has fought tirelessly to ensure LGBTQ+ Virginians are afforded equal protection under the law. His plan calls for an economy that remains open and welcoming to all, ensuring the Commonwealth remains a top place in the nation to do business, attract talent, and raise a family.
“Delegate Hala Ayala’s story is the story of everyday Virginians. She knows firsthand how hard work and opportunity can be the path to the middle class, and she has fought for every Virginians’ right to that opportunity. Ayala is the clear choice for voters who believe that every family and every child, regardless of who they are, should have a shot at their dream.
“Attorney General Mark Herring has been a forceful champion for fairness and equality under the law. From fighting the discriminatory ban on marriage equality, to protecting LGBTQ+ youth in public schools, to ensuring all Virginians can live and work free from harm and discrimination, Mark Herring is a results-driven fighter focused on the Commonwealth’s continued safety, security, and prosperity.”
During his time as Virginia’s 72nd Governor, Terry McAuliffe fought tirelessly to combat LGBTQ+ discrimination. His first action as governor was signing an executive order to prohibit discrimination against any LGBTQ+ state employee. McAuliffe vetoed every anti-LGBTQ+ bill passed by extremist legislators. When marriage equality became legally recognized in Virginia, McAuliffe signed an executive order directing state agencies to comply with the court ruling so that there would be no room for misinterpretation. Five days after the legal recognition of marriage equality in Virginia, McAuliffe presided over a same-sex wedding, only the third governor ever to do so and the first in the South.
“Every human being deserves to be treated equally, live free from fear, and thrive regardless of who they are or who they love,” said Terry McAuliffe. “That’s why I fought to protect LGBTQ+ rights from right-wing attacks that would have hurt Virginians and crippled our economy. Our Commonwealth can only thrive if we work every single day to be the most open and welcoming state in the nation. Glenn Youngkin will roll back that progress, and we cannot let that happen. I am grateful for the support of the Human Rights Campaign, and together we will continue to ensure Virginia remains open and welcoming to all.”
As a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Hala Ayala co-sponsored and voted in support of pro-LGBTQ+ legislation, including the Virginia Values Act. Before serving in the House of Delegates, Ayala was a member of Equality Prince William, where she stood in support of adding sexual orientation and gender identity to nondiscrimination policies. If elected, Ayala would be Virginia’s first woman and woman of color Lieutenant Governor.
"I am so honored to be endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign. Throughout my time as an activist and Delegate, I have stood up as an ally for the LGBTQ+ community time and time again,” said Hala Ayala. “Our fight for equality is far from done and I look forward to continuing our partnership as Lieutenant Governor.”
Attorney General Mark Herring is a vocal supporter of LGBTQ+ issues. Herring was the first state attorney general to successfully argue that his state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples should be struck down as unconstitutional. In 2017 he joined eighteen other state attorneys general in calling on Congress to block President Trump’s ban on transgender service members in the military. In 2021 Herring announced he’s creating an Office of Civil Rights dedicated to investigating allegations of discrimination in policing, housing and employment. Herring tied the reorganization to the passage of a handful of bills passed by new pro-equality majorities in the General Assembly including bills banning LGBTQ and gender-based discrimination.
"I am so grateful for the support of the Human Rights Campaign,” said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. “In my eight years as Attorney General, I have taken on and won big fights in the court to make our Commonwealth a truly equal one, including a landmark case for marriage equality. I am committed to continuing that fight every single day to make sure that LGBTQ+ families and individuals in Virginia and all across the nation have the freedom to live their lives freely and with equality under the law. We have made so much progress in our Commonwealth but we cannot let it stop there, we must vote Democrat up and down the ballot this November."
The latest round of endorsements continues the Human Rights Campaign’s multi-year investment to mobilize the Commonwealth’s 1.2 million Equality Voters. In 2020, the HRC’s long-term efforts in Virginia culminated in the passage of the landmark bipartisan Virginia Values Act, making Virginia the first state in the South to enact nondiscrimination protections along the lines of sexual orientation and gender identity.
HRC Endorsed Candidates in Virginia
Virginia House of Delegates:
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