Republicans shoot down LGBT employment and housing protections

Through the leadership of Equality Virginia, lots of us gathered at the Capital last week to encourage the passing of legislation that would protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment and housing. As difficult as it is to believe, it is legal in Virginia to deny employment, fire someone and also refuse to rent or sell a home to someone if they are even perceived to be LGBT.

We went there with hopes that this year would be different. And actually it was as the Republicans who tabled the bills heard more than they probably expected. After about twenty people and organizations spoke in favor of the bills, the Family Foundation, the Catholic Church and the Baptists did their usual “Chicken Little” dance that if the bills were passed the world would come to an end. These are the exact scare tactics they have used for years and the last time we checked the sun still rises.

After the votes were cast, Delegate Delores McQuinn delivered the most powerful response calling out people by name … white men who have no understanding at all of discrimination. As the legislators filed out they were greeted by chants of, “shame, shame, shame.”

While justice was tabled for another year, that afternoon built community and solidarity. We were there and will continue to be until justice is served.

Bill Harrison