|RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced he has signed the Virginia Values Act, making Virginia the first state in the South to enact comprehensive protections for the LGBTQ community against discrimination in housing, employment, public spaces, and credit applications.
Senate Bill 868, sponsored by Senator Adam Ebbin, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, public and private employment, public accommodations, and access to credit. The legislation also extends important protections to Virginians on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, and status as a veteran.
“This legislation sends a strong, clear message—Virginia is a place where all people are welcome to live, work, visit, and raise a family,” said Governor Northam. “We are building an inclusive Commonwealth where there is opportunity for everyone, and everyone is treated fairly. No longer will LGBTQ Virginians have to fear being fired, evicted, or denied service in public places because of who they are.”
“With the Governor’s signing of the Virginia Values Act, we have made discrimination against our gay, lesbian and transgender friends, family, neighbors and co-workers in employment, housing and public accommodation illegal in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn. “It is now the law of the land that every Virginian can work hard, earn a living wage, and live their lives without fear of discrimination based on who they are or who they love. A tremendous victory.”
“I am grateful to Governor Northam for signing the Virginia Values Act, which represents years of dedicated work by activists, legislators, and progressive members of our business community to ensure full protection for every Virginian under the law,” said Senator Adam Ebbin. “Sadly, during times of crisis like these, discrimination rises, and its effects become more apparent. When jobs are scarce and housing unaffordable, the reality of who you are must be an additional hurdle to putting food on the table or providing shelter for your family. This law provides important new protections.”
“After decades of hard work, we are closer to making Virginia the Commonwealth that we all want it to be,” said Delegate Mark Sickles. “This new law will bring protections that Virginians need to live, work, and access services free from discrimination and harassment. I am grateful to Governor Northam for signing this legislation, and to the broad coalition of dedicated advocates, legislators, constituents, faith leaders, and members of the business community, who worked together to pass the most comprehensive civil rights bill in Virginia’s history this session.”