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Va. Lawmakers Push for Employment Protections

Va. Lawmakers Push for Employment Protections


Democratic lawmakers in Virginia announced support Tuesday for a bill that would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the state work force and in the Virginia National Guard.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Similar legislation has failed in past General Assembly sessions, but lawmakers said there is growing bipartisan support for legislation this time around to give equal protection under the law and in public employment to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Virginians."

Last year, Gov. Bob McDonnell signed an executive directive, which lacks the force of law to forbid discrimination in the state work force after Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued a legal opinion saying that state law did not authorize public colleges and universities to include sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies.

The bill, which will be considered this week, is sponsored in the house by Del. Adam Ebbin, the only openly gay member of the legislature, and in the senate by Sen. A. Donald McEachin.

Also under consideration are bills to strengthen antibullying laws in schools, allow local governments to set their own employee benefits policies, and repeal a 2006 constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriages and civil unions.

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