Once again, Virginia Speaker of the House Kirk Cox, Majority Chairman Tim Hugo, did not allow two bills that would codify LGBTQ non-discrimination protections for a vote in the General Laws committee.
The two bills, HB 2677 and HB 2067, would protect LGBTQ Virginians in housing and public employment, respectively. Similar bills have passed the Virginia Senate several years in a row with bipartisan support. According to recent polling, both measures have majority support from Republicans in Virginia.
This past year, Equality Virginia, Virginia Beach for Fairness and the Human Rights campaign worked tirelessly to get these measures out of committee and onto the floor of the House of Delegates for a vote.
“It’s shameful that Speaker Cox, Majority Caucus Chairman Tim Hugo and leaders in the House of Delegates continue to use every political trick in the book to kill these crucial, commonsense non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Virginians,” said Marty Rouse, HRC National Field Director. “For several years in a row, bills that would protect LGBTQ Virginians from discrimination in housing and public employment have passed the state Senate, but House leadership continues to obfuscate the political process and obstruct this legislation. Let’s be clear: Cox is using LGBTQ people as political pawns. This fall, voters in Virginia will head to the polls to elect their state representatives. If current leaders cowardly refuse to protect all Virginians, then voters will elect lawmakers who will. We will remember this in November.”
The actions of Speaker Cox defy the recent polling, even among Virginia Republicans. According to the Human Rights Campaign, Mason-Dixon, a pollster found broad support amongst the greater electorate for nondiscrimination legislation, including Republicans. Their findings include:
- 53% of Republicans said they would support “legislation at the General Assembly this year that would update Virginia’s nondiscrimination laws to protect gay and transgender people from discrimination in housing.” Only 38% opposed.
- 63% of Republicans said they would support “legislation at the General Assembly this year that would update Virginia’s nondiscrimination laws to protect gay and transgender people from discrimination in employment.” Only 30% opposed.
“It’s time for the House of Delegates to finally take up and pass these bills,” said James Parrish, executive director for Equality Virginia, in a statement. “It’s not controversial; it’s common sense.”
Equality Virginia and other advocates are calling on Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox to bring the bills to the floor for a vote before the legislative session ends on February 23.
If you would like to voice your concern with Speaker Cox, you may do so by calling Speaker Cox at (804 698-1066 or via email with Equality Virginia’s phone link HERE.