New lawmaker introducing LGBT non-discrimination bill

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A newly elected and openly gay Virginia lawmaker will introduce a bill to protect LGBT employees and patrons.

“I think most Americans believe that, and most Virginians believe that people should be hired based on how good they are at their jobs,” said Delegate-elect Mark Levine.

Levine says if the country is OK with gay people marrying, then it only makes sense to protect their civil rights.

“These to me are subjects that we as a country should have gotten over 50 years ago,” said Levine.

“Currently they can legally be fired or not hired, denied housing or kicked out of a business and not be served,” said James Parrish with Equality Virginia.

Parrish says they still get calls from people who believe they were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or transgender identity. The organization honored Virginia businesses Thursday night that have instituted policies to protect their LGBT employees.

“The majority of Virginia businesses don’t believe in that, they think the gay and transgender people should be protected,” said Parrish.

“There’s simply not evidence that there’s a need for this bill,” said Victoria Cobb with the Family Foundation.

Cobb says the bill is another effort to penalize faith based businesses and organizations.

“The reality is that these bills are used to weaponize government against private businesses and we simply don’t want to see that happen here in Virginia,” said Cobb.

“When it comes to a for-profit corporation, if you’re telling me, ‘oh we’re not letting you buy art supplies because you’re gay,’ that goes a little too far,” said Levine.

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