Protecting LGBTQIA+ Rights
As a state Delegate, I passed historic legislation to safeguard and expand civil rights protections for LGBTQIA+ individuals. As Governor, I will continue to ensure that our Commonwealth and the communities therein are protected and valued. It is time for us to finally fulfill the promise on which this country was founded: equality for all.
As a Delegate, I:
- Co-patroned the Virginia Values Act, making Virginia the first Southern state to provide sweeping protections for the “LGBTQIA+ community against discrimination in housing, employment, public spaces, and on credit applications.”
- Helped pass bills to end conversion therapy for persons aged 18 and under, and bar health care providers from limiting or denying coverage on the basis of gender identity or for being a transgender individual.
- Co-patroned legislation to remove “statutory prohibitions on marriages and civil unions” between same-sex couples.
- Successfully advocated to classify crimes against individuals on the basis of gender identity, disability, and sexual orientation as hate crimes.
My Plans as Governor
- Amend the Virginia state constitution to be consistent with the Supreme Court 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision to reinforce that marriage equality is the law of the land.
- Eliminate the LGBTQIA+ “panic defense,” thereby suspending leniency for violence committed because of one’s gender identity or sexual orientation. D.C. recently banned the defense, following the direction of eleven states, and we will push for Virginia to be next.
- Institute a statewide 100-day challenge to end LGBTQIA+ homelessness. This effort, modeled on successes in California to combat veteran and youth homelessness, brings together local governments, nonprofits, and LGBTQIA+ centers to ensure that no person is without housing and to build on current community response initiatives.
- Champion a bill that clarifies the Virginia Human Rights Act by defining sexual and workplace harassment to include harassment based on an individual’s sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Review state-funded workforce development initiatives to ensure inclusive outreach, training, and hiring practices aimed at recruiting and retaining LGBTQIA+ employees.
- Coordinate with the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity to recognize LGBTQIA+-owned businesses and to ensure increased access to state-funded contracts.
- Continue to declare every June as LGBTQIA+ pride month to further educate the public about the LGBTQIA+ movement and to commemorate its milestones and progress.
- Appoint an LGBTQIA+ liaison to gather recommendations to address barriers and challenges facing the LGBTQIA+ community and offer policy solutions. This position would be in addition to the Director of LGBTQIA+ Outreach.
- Support legislation to establish a Virginia LGBTQIA+ Advisory Board to promote and address prominent economic, social, and educational issues for LGBTQIA+ constituents.