The Virginia House of Delegates today voted down a measure that would have included LGBT Virginians in non-discrimination policies for state employees. Ken Plum, a Democratic Delegate from Northern Virginia, used a parliamentary move to force a vote on the bill. According to a Washington Post report:
Del. Ken Plum, a Democrat from Reston, moved to revive the gay-rights bill that had languished in a House subcommittee, saying the legislature must respond to Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s recent advice to the state’s public colleges and universities that they had no legal ability to add sexual orientation to their nondiscrimination policies. Cuccinelli has recommended that such statements be rescinded.
“It’s particularly timely at this time because the eyes of the nation are upon us,” Plum said.
Del. David Englin (D-Alexandria) also rose to address the House, recalling his parents and grandparents’ stories of anti-Semitic discrimination by employers. Englin said the state must act to protect Virginia’s reputation as a desirable place to do business because some companies might see the state as intolerant.
“Let there be no mistake – Ken Cuccinelli wants to hang a sign in front of the public colleges and universities of this Commonwealth that reads ‘Gays need not apply,’” Englin said.
But Del. Robert Marshall, (R-Prince William) argued that gay people needed no “special protections” and said that the term “sexual orientation” was so broad that it would protect behaviors that could not be discussed in public.
Marshall’s motion passed, 53 to 42, burying the gay rights measure.