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VA State Senate Committee Kills Anti-LGBTQ+ Religious Freedom Bill

VA House of Delegates and Les Adams who introduced the bill
VA House of Delegates and Del. Les Adams

The bill failed in an 8-7 vote after passing the state's House of Delegates last week. 


Virginia's Senate General Laws and Technology Committee voted down a religious freedom bill that critics and advocates say would have allowed discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.

On Wednesday, the committee voted 8-7 to table House Bill 753, which had been introduced by Republican state Del. Les Adams of Pittsylvania County, according to the Washington Blade.

"The bill exempts any place of accommodation owned by or operated on behalf of a religious corporation, association, or society from the nondiscrimination in public places of accommodation provisions of the Virginia Human Rights Act," the bill stated. "Under current law, such places of accommodation are exempt only when not open to the public."

"The bill also removes the provision of the exemption for religious organizations under the Virginia Fair Housing Law that denies such exemption where the membership in such religion is restricted on account of race, color, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status or disability," HB 753 continued.

Last week, Adams' bill passed the Republican-controlled House of Delegates with a 54-45 vote margin, according to the Blade.

The committee's vote to kill the bill was met with support from LGBTQ+ rights groups.

"GOOD NEWS ALERT," Equality Virginia wrote on Twitter Wednesday. "Moments ago HB 753 was DEFEATED in Senate committee!!! This bill would have allowed religious-based discrimination against LGBTQ+ Virginians."

Earlier in the week, the group had called out the legislation for what they said was legalizing discrimination.

"Anti-equality legislators in Virginia have repeatedly pushed legislation this session that would allow discrimination including against LGBTQ+ individuals. These repeated efforts have been especially prevalent in the House of Delegates, which has a slim anti-equality majority following last year's election," said Human Rights Campaign's state legislative director Cathryn Oakley in a news release.

Oakley added, "The Commonwealth is best when it's open and welcoming to all to live, work, and raise a family."

HRC noted that 2022 will most likely pass 2021 as the worst year in U.S. history for introducing and passing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. Last year, 25 laws were enacted, according to HRC. Thirteen of those were anti-trans laws in eight states. More than 290 anti-LGBTQ+ laws were introduced.

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