Anti-discrimination bill passes Virginia Senate

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A bill to protect Virginia employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation passed the Virginia Senate 24-16 on Friday.

“We’re going to press forward with this momentum,” state Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, a chief patron of the bill, said in a statement. “No state employee should ever doubt Virginia’s commitment to equal opportunity employment for all. This assures state employees that they will be judged solely on their merits and that discrimination has no place in Virginia.”

The bill extends protections for sexual orientation and gender identity and expression for state employees. Equality Virginia, an advocacy organization seeking equality for gay , bisexual and transgender Virginians, lauded the measure.

“We are pleased that four Republican senators joined their Democratic colleagues in passing SB701 to protect LGBT state employees,” Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish said.  “In the private sector, workplace protections are shown to decrease legal vulnerability while enhancing the employer’s reputation, increasing job satisfaction and boosting employee morale and productivity.”

The bill will next head to the House of Delegates, which has a Republican majority.

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