Ending Discrimination in Virginia: A Virginian’s Message to Governor Northam

By Mary Rohmiller, Co-Director of State Policy for Family Equality

Now more than ever, with Virginia and the entire nation facing a health and economic crisis, it is crucial for LGBTQ Virginians to have comprehensive state protections that fully ban discrimination at work, in housing, in credit, and in public places. As the Trump Administration has continued to turn its back on the LGBTQ community, it is more important than ever for comprehensive state protections in Virginia that fully ban discrimination once and for all.

The Virginia Values Act (SB 868) provides clear and strong nondiscrimination protections for our community. As a resident of Virginia and Co-Director of State Policy for Family Equality, I have coordinated our organization’s involvement in the fight for these comprehensive nondiscrimination protections since we elected a pro-equality legislature here in the Commonwealth. This has been an historic legislative session for Virginia, and I have been proud to watch the Virginia Values Act pass both chambers of the General Assembly with overwhelming and bipartisan support and to see civil rights groups, business leaders, faith leaders, and citizens of diverse backgrounds come together in support of the bill.

However, as this bill sits on Governor Northam’s desk ready for signature, opponents of LGBTQ equality are urging him to make harmful amendments to weaken the bill by watering down the Act’s enforcement tools and adding broad religious exemptions.

Family Equality has urged Governor Northam to sign this bill without any amendments that would undercut the efficacy of its vital civil rights protections. Many of you have answered our call to advocate in favor of this bill on several occasions over these last 3 months, and we need your help once more. Governor Northam has until April 11 to sign the Virginia Values Act. Please click here to reach out to Governor Northam today and urge him to sign the bill as is and not give in to the pressure for amendments.