Richmond, Virginia – The Washington Blade reports that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed three pro-LGBTQ measures into law on March 5th and a fourth on March 2nd. One bill, House Bill 145, sponsored by state Del. Marcus Simon (D-Falls Church) and Senate Bill 161, sponsored by state Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-Loudoun County), require the Department of Education to develop model policies ensuring transgender students are treated fairly, respectfully, and according to best practices. “All Virginia students deserve to learn in a safe, healthy, and welcoming environment,” said Boysko in press release. “I was proud to carry this incredibly important bill, and I’m thrilled to see it signed into law.”

Northam also signed a bill expanding the definition of a hate crime to include sexual orientation and gender identification among other protected classes into law. The bill was sponsored by state Del. Rip Sullivan (D-Fairfax County). “Attacking someone because of who they are, who they love, or where they’re from is wrong,” said Northam. “Those actions are intended to send a chilling message that a person is not welcome, and that is exactly the opposite of what we stand for in Virginia. Hate has no place here. I am proud to sign this bill.”

State Del. Danica Roem’s (D-Manassas) legislation allowing localities to ban discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, credit, or education based on sexual orientation or gender identity also passed into law. “No matter where in the commonwealth you live, you should be free from discrimination,” said Virginia’s first openly trans delegate. Also, the Dallas Voice reports that on March 2nd, Gov. Northam signed legislation making Virginia the 20th state – and the first southern state – to protect LGBTQ minors from conversion therapy. The bill goes into effect July 1st. (Washington Blade – Philip Van Slooten at Washingtonblade.com/2020/03/05/va-governor-signs-three-lgbtq-bills-into-law)

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