RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam is commemorating Pride Month in Virginia as sweeping new laws to expand rights and protections for LQBTQ+ individuals take effect on July 1. At the beginning of the month, the Governor issued a proclamation declaring June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month in the Commonwealth of Virginia to celebrate the state’s LGBTQ+ communities and their fight for inclusion and equality.
“This Pride Month, we are reminded of the pivotal moments when LGBTQ+ Americans stood up to demand that they be treated with respect and dignity,” said Governor Northam. “As we celebrate long-overdue progress in advancing LGBTQ+ rights in our country and Commonwealth, we must also redouble our efforts to ensure Virginia is inclusive and welcoming to all––no matter who you are, who you love, or how you identify.”
Each June, Pride Month commemorates the riots at Stonewall Inn in New York City that began on June 28, 1969, and mark the birth of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement.
Pride Month also celebrates several landmark rulings from the United States Supreme Court that upheld LGBTQ+ rights and advanced equality in the United States, including decisions that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, which guaranteed same-sex couples the right to marry, and affirmed that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ+ employees from discrimination based on sex in 2020.
During the last legislative session, Governor Northam took historic action to expand rights and protections for LGBTQ+ Virginians. He 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.
Governor Northam also signed legislation banning the harmful and controversial practice of “conversion therapy” for minors, which attempts to forcibly change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. And he signed new measures that increase protections for transgender students in Virginia public schools, give localities greater authority to ban discrimination, expand the definition of a hate crime to include criminal acts based gender identity and sexual orientation, and make it easier for LGBTQ+ individuals to obtain a birth certificate that matches their gender identity. These laws will become effective July 1, 2020.
On Saturday, June 27, Governor Northam will join LGBTQ+ activists and world leaders for Global Pride 2020, a 24-hour virtual Pride event organized in response to the hundreds of Pride celebrations that have been cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor’s pre-recorded message will air between 4:30 PM and 6:30 PM Eastern. See the full line up of speakers and performers here. Global Pride will be broadcast at globalpride2020.org and on Todrick Hall’s YouTube, Facebook, and Revry.
Read the full text of Governor Northam’s LGBTQ+ Pride Month proclamation here. Watch the Governor’s 2020 Pride Month message here.