Virginia’s showing more support for LGBTQ citizens and their rights.
This past Thursday, Governor Ralph Northam signed three pro-LGBTQ bills into law, according to the Washington Blade. Most recently, the governor signed-in House Bill 145, sponsored by state Del. Marcus Simon, and Senate Bill 161, which was sponsored by state Sen. Jennifer Boysko. Both bills require the Department of Education to create policies ensuring safe environments for LGBTQ students and especially transgender students. School boards within the state have until the 2021-2022 school year to install such policies.
“All Virginia students deserve to learn in a safe, healthy, and welcoming environment,” said Boysko in a press release. “I was proud to carry this incredibly important bill, and I’m thrilled to see it signed into law.”
But that’s not all, Northam also signed a bill, sponsored by Del. Rip Sullivan, that protects LGBTQ people from hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Attacking someone because of who they are, who they love, or where they’re from is wrong,” said Northam. “Those actions are intended to send a chilling message that a person is not welcome, and that is exactly the opposite of what we stand for in Virginia. Hate has no place here. I am proud to sign this bill.”
The signing of these laws comes just a few days after Northam signed a law banning conversion therapy on minors. All of these pro-LGBTQ laws were passed thanks to the fact that democratic lawmakers were able to take over the majority of the state’s General Assembly.
On top of that, the General Assembly just passed a bill sponsored by Danica Roem’s, Virginia’s first openly trans delegate. The bill bans housing, employment, public accommodations, credit, and education based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
“No matter where in the commonwealth you live, you should be free from discrimination,” said Virginia’s first openly trans delegate. “Allowing localities to include sexual orientation and gender identity in their nondiscrimination policies means they can make a statement of affirmation about their values at the local level while we continue to make Virginia a more inclusive commonwealth statewide.”
She added, “I’m proud both localities I represent have leaders who are eager to take action based on this legislation and thank the governor for signing this bill into law.”