Virginia Values Act Is Making LGBTQ History in the South


Post submitted by HRC Senior Regional Campaign Organizer Narissa Rahaman

In August 2019, HRC endorsed and committed to invest in and help elect 27 pro-equality candidates across Virginia. The historic endorsements marked the beginning of HRC’s largest field, digital and direct mail program in the Commonwealth of Virginia — and it paid off. 

On Election Day, HRC celebrated a huge victory. Virginia’s newly elected pro-equality majorities in both the House and Senate allowed for a slate of pro-LGBTQ legislation to move forward this session.

Last week the Virginia General Assembly closed out a banner legislative year with legislators advancing protections and equality for LGBTQ Virginians who call the Commonwealth home, and we couldn’t have done it without you. From Election Day in 2019 through the end of the legislative session in March,  you took action at the ballot box, via email and by phone to make sure your voice was represented and heard in Richmond. 

HRC staff has been on the ground in Richmond working with Equality Virginia to advance the historic Virginia Values Act (SB 868), landmark bipartisan non-discrimination legislation, through both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly. 

Thanks to your work the Virginia Values Act is on its way to the governor’s desk to become law. Once this bill is enacted, Virginia will be the first state in the South to have non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, the first state in more than a decade to add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing non-discrimination law and the first state since 1993 to add a prohibition on discrimination in public accommodations where none existed before.

But there’s still work to do. Opponents of equality are threatening to gut reforms that would protect all Virginians from discrimination at work, in housing, in credit and in public places before the bill is signed into law. And it could happen: Under Virginia law, the governor can add amendments and send bills back to the General Assembly. 

The governor needs to know HRC members and supporters are in favor of a clean bill without any amendments. Take action here:

And there’s more: 

  • Bills waiting to be signed by the governor:
    • SB 657 and HB 1041 - Removes unnecessary and invasive requirements that prohibit many transgender residents from correcting the gender marker on their birth certificate. 
    • SB 246 - Adds a non-binary gender marker option on state driver’s licenses and IDs for transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming Virginians. 
    • HB 1429 - Prohibits a health insurance carrier from denying or limiting coverage to a transgender individual.
  • Bills the governor has signed into law:
    • A bill that requires the Department of Education to develop and make available policies regarding the treatment of transgender students in primary and secondary schools.
    • A bill that prohibits state-licensed health care providers from engaging in the dangerous, discredited practice of so-called “conversion therapy” with minors.
    • A bill that requires the reporting of hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity along with other protected characteristics.

Thanks to our members and supporters and Virginia’s pro-equality lawmakers, we are making real change across the commonwealth. But there is still work to be done. Learn more about how you can get involved with HRC in Virginia as we work to elect pro-LGBTQ candidates up and down the ballot this year by visiting

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