Human Rights Act; adds sexual orientation to definition of unlawful discriminatory practice. (HB1287)

Introduced By

Del. Ken Plum (D-Reston)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Virginia Human Rights Act; sexual orientation.  Adds sexual orientation to the definition of unlawful discriminatory practice in the Virginia Human Rights Act. The bill defines "sexual orientation." Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/21/2010Presented and ordered printed 10104081D
01/21/2010Referred to Committee on General Laws
01/25/2010Impact statement from DPB (HB1287)
02/09/2010Assigned GL sub: #4 Professions/Occupations and Administrative Process
02/09/2010Subcommittee recommends passing by indefinitely (5-Y 3-N)
02/16/2010Left in General Laws


Equality Virginia, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

• This bill would add sexual orientation (defined to include gender identity) to the protected classes now enumerated in the Virginia Human Rights Act. The effect of this bill will be to extend federal law protections into state law. When Federal ENDA passes, this will mean that all private employers in Virginia would also be covered by state law, and that the federal law could be enforced by the Virginia Human Rights Council.

Patrick Graydon writes:

I strongly support this bill, which would add long-overdue protections for frequently discriminated-against people.

god-fearer writes:

This is very important. In my personal knowledge, complaints have been presented under the Virginia Human Rights Act, showing violation of human rights because of sexual orientation, or gender identity, but the complaints were not accepted because the Virginia Act did not specially include these categories. This is shameful. If the General Assembly again fails to acknowledge that lgbt human rights are not considered worthy of protection in Virginia, EV, Interfaith Center, and other organizations must make it plain that Virginia government has chosen to be in the same league as notorious human rights abusers such as Sudan, Iran, and other governments. In an era of questioning by the Tea Party and other groups to assess what are the irreducible functions of limited government (which is a important question for us all to ask and we thank the Tea Party for asking) certainly protection of human rights would be among these irreducible functions, since only governments can do this, not individuals, or even collectives of individuals. To exclude groups - who are known to be vulnerable to human rights violation - from human rights protections is inexcusable; it is not hyperbolic to compare Virginia to Sudan, Iran, etc in this case. It is a factual statement.

Chris Rune writes:

Individual rights applies to individuals, not to groups. Employers are individuals, and they have a right to be ignorant bigots if they want - and you and I have a right to spread word of their bigotry and not to support their businesses. We don't have a "right" to force them to hire people they don't approve of, whether their disapproval is right or wrong.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Chris, do you think an employer also has a right not to do business with people who they don't want? For instance, could Woolworth's lunch counter refuse to serve blacks? Or could they only refuse to hire blacks and, if so, what's the legal basis to allow one and not the other? After all, as you wrote, businesses "have a right to be ignorant bigots if they want."