This past Thursday, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed off on an executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity within state services and by state contractors.
Executive Order 61 declares that the Commonwealth of Virginia will not work with contractors or businesses that discriminate against the LGBTQ community. The order requires state contractors to sign a non-discrimination agreement before providing services to the Executive Branch.
The order’s signing followed hearings of LGBTQ discrimination cases within the state. Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that, “Starting today, the Commonwealth of Virginia will not do business with entities that discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Defending the rights and protections of the LGBTQ are essential. “If we are going to have the economic future we want, we have to send a clear and inclusive message about what and whom we value, and the kind of respect and opportunities that talented people will find in Virginia,” Attorney General Mark Herring affirmed.
At the same time that LGBTQ rights progressed in Virginia, Republican legislator Del. Robert Marshall seeks to retract such protections, filing a bill this week similar to the North Carolina HB2 Bill restricting the bathroom usage of transgender citizens.
If the Psychical Privacy Act is instated, transgender people would be forced to use the bathroom assigned to their biological sex, a misalignment with their gender identity. Furthering the restriction, the bill would require schools to inform the students’ parents if the student attempts to be “treated as the opposite sex.”
Marshall’s proposed law directly contradicts Governor Terry McAuliffe’s move to ensure that the state of Virginia protects all people regardless of gender identity.
Media Resources: Human Rights Campaign 1/5/17, Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Governor 1/5/17, NBC29 News 1/5/17, The Washington Post 1/5/17,