Virginia is set to become the first Southern state to ban LGBT discrimination, after both the House and Senate approved the Virginia Values Act on Thursday.
The Washington Post reports: A sweeping LGBT-rights bill banning discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations sailed out of the Virginia Senate on a bipartisan vote Thursday. … The bill also would for the first time apply Virginia’s civil rights protections to public accommodations like restaurants and stores — not just for the LGBT community but also for racial minorities, women and religious groups. The House of Delegates was poised to approve an identical bill later Thursday. The Senate and House bills have to cross over to the opposite chamber and win passage again before Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who requested the legislation, can sign them into law. But those steps were regarded as mere technicalities by advocates cheering what they regard as landmark human rights legislation.
More from the Human Rights Campaign: Similar legislation passed through the Virginia Senate several times in recent years, but was blocked by anti-equality lawmakers in the House of Delegates. In the 2019 election, voters in the commonwealth elected pro-equality majorities to both houses of the General Assembly, making this victory possible. … Virginia will be the first state in the South to have non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, the first state in over 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 (protecting all Virginians) where none existed before.