WASHINGTON - The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is going on the offensive against General Assembly Republicans for their failure to pass any LGBTQ non-discrimination laws.
“As Virginians celebrate another pride month, it’s shameful that our LGBTQ family members, friends, and neighbors can still be legally discriminated against in the Commonwealth,” Jessica Post, executive director of the DLCC said. “Year after year, Republicans in the General Assembly have shown they lack the courage to pass any equality laws to protect LGBTQ Virginians from discrimination in housing, public accommodations or employment.”
Earlier this year, Virginia became a central battleground in the struggle for equality. Even though surveys show more than two-thirds of Virginians support nondiscrimination policies, Republicans have remained steadfast in their opposition to such measures. In the 2019 legislative session, Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox and Republican leadership refused to even hold hearings on several proposed bills that would have finally afforded LGBTQ Virginians full equality under the law.
“Democratic legislators and candidates for the General Assembly have pledged to stand up for LGBTQ Virginians, and when we flip Richmond blue this November they will finally pass nondiscrimination laws,” Post said.
Republicans running in this year’s elections have doubled down on hateful rhetoric against the LGBTQ community. Here is just a sampling of some of the extreme anti-LGBTQ Republicans currently campaigning across the Commonwealth:
- Kelly McGinn, a candidate for HD-13, has proven her extreme hostility to LGBTQ Virginians. A lawyer and conservative activist, McGinn submitted testimony criticizing nondiscrimination protections in adoption, calling such policies “absurd” and affirming her belief that marriage is solely between a man and a woman. She went on to call LGBTQ adoption “a social experiment on our children.”
- Senator Bryce Reeves’ bigotry proved excessive even to his fellow Republicans, who accused him of gay-bashing after he criticized legislators who voted to confirm Virginia’s first openly gay judge. In inflammatory campaign mailers, Reeves made it clear that his issue was not the jurist’s qualifications or record, but rather his sexual orientation. Unsurprisingly, Reeves has also denounced “special rights” for the LGBTQ community and was one of the few Senators to opposenondiscrimination legislation this year.
- During his time in Richmond, Delegate Dave LaRock has made no secret of his hatred towards the LGBTQ community, unabashedly advocating for his right to discriminate. LaRock has sponsored legislation that would prohibit Virginians from changing their gender identity on their birth certificates unless there is a “typographical error.” The bill included despicable references to “hermaphroditism or pseudo-hermaphroditism,” and LaRock even fought to ensure transgender Virginians were excluded from nondiscrimination protections. He even once wrote a letter to the editor complaining that LGBTQ Pride Month “promotes homosexuality and gender confusion… but ignores the real physical and psychological harms associated with those lifestyles.” He went on to characterize transgender identities as a psychological disorder and described transitioning as a form of child abuse. This year, Delegate LaRock promoted a petition to reject an amendment to Loudoun County Schools’ nondiscrimination policy that would recognize a new gender identity category and condemnedlegislation to make Virginia’s surrogacy laws gender neutral.
- Senator Amanda Chase was one of the most vocal opponents of a ban on LGBTQ conversion therapy, which she called “helpful counsel” for children. Not only did she vote to table proposed legislation, but also claimed the proposed ban “violates free speech, religious liberty, and endangers children.” Chase also described the Equal Rights Amendment as “a ploy by the left to eliminate gender altogether,” and voted againstnondiscrimination protections.
“When it comes to equality, the difference between Republicans and Democrats could not be more clear. Republicans are on the wrong side of history,” Post said. “Democrats will continue to stand with the LGBTQ community as we work to make the Commonwealth a better place for every Virginian.”