Nondiscrimination in state employment; prohibited based on race, color, religion, etc. (SB747)

Introduced By

Sen. Don McEachin (D-Richmond)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Nondiscrimination in state employment.  Prohibits discrimination in state employment based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, or status as a special disabled veteran or other veteran covered by the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended. The bill defines "sexual orientation" as a person's actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, or gender identity or expression. The bill expressly provides that "sexual orientation" shall not include any person's attraction toward persons with whom sexual conduct would be illegal due to the age of the parties. The bill contains technical amendments. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


10/29/2010Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/12/11 11100229D
10/29/2010Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology
01/14/2011Impact statement from DPB (SB747)
01/19/2011Impact statement from DPB (SB747)
01/26/2011Reported from General Laws and Technology (8-Y 7-N) (see vote tally)
01/28/2011Passed by for the day
01/31/2011Constitutional reading dispensed (39-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/01/2011Read second time and engrossed
02/02/2011Read third time and passed Senate (22-Y 18-N) (see vote tally)
02/10/2011Placed on Calendar
02/10/2011Read first time
02/10/2011Referred to Committee on General Laws
02/14/2011Assigned GL sub: #4 Professions/Occupations and Administrative Process
02/15/2011Subcommittee recommends laying on the table
02/22/2011Left in General Laws


This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 1 clip in all, totaling 52 seconds.


Equality Virginia, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

This bill bars discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as other protected classes, in state employment. Equality Virginia supports this bill.

People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

Full Support (a primary focus for this session with a chance of passing)

Ellen Bass writes:

Supporting this bill is critical as the Attorney General has asked Virginia's public universities and colleges to remove protections from their non-discrimination policies for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Claire Kaplan writes:

This bill would have a direct and positive impact on thousands of state employees who do not receive the same benefits as heterosexual employees do. At its very base, this is simply common decency and places Virginia where it belongs: as a leader in advancing human rights.

Rob Kelly writes:

This bill should be a no-brainer. It is fundamentally about supporting the freedom of people to conduct their lives as they see fit within the bounds of not adversely affecting others.

Jeremy R. Andreatta writes:

This bill would not only have an immediate and positive impact on the lives of all Virginians, but also improve the ability of Virginia's state agencies and public institutions to attract and retain top notch employees. All around, passage of this bill will improve the lives of all current and future Virginians.

Byron L. Harris writes:

"Virginia Is For Lovers".... NOT HATERS!!! This Bill needs to be passed NOW! Let's prove that the State of Virginia truly loves one another unconditionally!

Jean Elliott writes:

Come on, Virginia, it's time to remove the hurdles to attracting the best and brightest to our universities. Passing SB767 is simply the right thing to do.

Sandy Power writes:

If Virginia wants to position itself as a leader in job creation and employment, then it needs to catch up with other states and ban discrimination in the workplace, most particularly in state employment.

The Rev Wes Jamison writes:

As an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, my faith compels me to personally support this bill and to encourage others to do so as well. As people of faith we are challenged by our deepest held beliefs to work for a more just, equitable, and sustainable world. This bill is one more step toward realizing that vision.

Eric stansbury writes:

Passing this bill would be an act of basic human compassion, and would represent an enormous step forward for civil rights in the Commonwealth. Our lawmakers need to protect ALL of our citizens, straight or gay, cis or trans, masculine or feminine.

Editor’s Pick
Jeffrey B. Trammell writes:

As a member of the Board of Visitors of William and Mary, I am acutely aware of the importance of nondiscrimination policies in the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff. It is important for the future of the universities of the Commonwealth that the state adopt this policy and bring our personnel policies in line with most leading universities around the nation, most of Virginia's private universities and most Fortune 500 companies, including some of the Commonwealth's largest private employers. Indeed, it is clear that private employers have embraced nondiscrimination in employment, including benefits, as a way to compete in the marketplace. Our universities should be permitted to do no less in order to compete with our national peer institutions. It is not acceptable to afford our LGBT faculty and staff any less protection than their fellow employees. This legislation is neither radical nor groundbreaking but rather an overdue step toward bringing our personnel policies into a competitive position with other states,other universities and private employers. As the CEO of Northrup Grumman indicated publicly when his company chose northern Virginia for its new headquarters, leading employers today value their LGBT employees and see equality in workplace policies, including benefits, as a necessity. It is not just in the realm of fiscal policy that the private sector has experience and wisdom to impart to government.

Benjamin Dixon writes:

As someone who has dealt with the aftermath of discriminatory and biased practices impacting individuals in the categories referenced in the bill SB747, I can attest to the emotional and psychological damage of these practices. It will not only benefit those identifying themselves as members of the LGBT community, but it will also be in the best interest of all communities in the State. Aside from the moral and ethical reasons to pass this bill, there is a clear economic benefit to the State to remove any barrier that restricts its access to talented, responsible, creative, and dedicated individuals of any community.

John Lach writes:

I fully support this bill. Employment should be determined based on performance. Discrimination in state employment not only violates individuals' civil rights but also makes Virginia less competitive as a state.

Randolph Canterbury writes:

This bill must pass in order for Virginia to compete favorably for the "best and brightest" in higher education and industry. In addition, I would argue that non-discrimination is a basic human value among those who are innately moral.

Mary Gibson writes:

I fully support this bill and feel it is our moral duty to promote non-discrimination.

Erin White writes:

If Virginia is truly "Open for business", this bill and all efforts to ensure equal rights and protections for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities must pass.

Phil Nelson writes:

*Every* person deserves the right to be respected and accepted for who they are, regardless of gender (actual or expressed), religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation... Discrimination in hiring deprives businesses in our state of qualified employees who will take their expertise elsewhere, depriving Virginia of not just their expertise but the financial benefit they will eventually bring. This same idea applies to extending benefits to an employee's partner. Offering health care to only a select subset of your employees is discrimination...

Rebecca Barber writes:

I am in full support of this bill.

The Rev. Kelly M. Sisson writes:

Passing this bill is long overdue! This is not about an issue it is about people's lives. It is time for Virginia to stop selectively protecting some employees and not others.

paxton marshall writes:

This is clearly the right thing to do.

Marcus Martin MD writes:

Passing this bill is the right thing to do. It is imperative that we recognize human rights, eliminate discrimination in all forms and show respect for all citizens of our Commonwealth

Tonya Smith-Jackson writes:

It is time! I want to be in the number who, decades from now, can look back and say we made a difference in the struggle for human rights. This is impportant. Tell your friends, relatives, etc!

Richard Shingles writes:

Over man years at a Virginia state university I have come to know many individuals and couples who are gay/lesbian who are outstanding citizens and employees. I have learned first hand from them of their experiences with discrimination and their continuing fear of discrimination. They deserve the protection of civil liberties and peace of mind taken for granted by heterosexuals. It is essential that Senate bill 747 become law.

Cathy Howard, Ph.D. writes:

It is time for Virginia to provide a safe environment for all of our citizens to work and live, and more than that -- to thrive. In the end the Commonwealth benefits.

Zack ADams writes:

I fully support this bill. Employment should be dependent on work performance and one's knowledge, skills and abilities. Discrimination in state employment makes Virginia less competitive as a state.

Rosemary Blieszner writes:

As chair of a university search committee for a department head position currently seeking applicants, I have been told by several potentially outstanding candidates who happen to be gay or lesbian that they would not apply because they cannot live in Virginia safely with their partners and adopted children. This is a serious impediment to our ability to recruit the best faculty and administrators, not to mention talented employees in many other sectors. The Commonwealth should stand in opposition to all forms of discrimination.

Lucinda McDermott Piro writes:

As the Director of a campus ministry at Radford University, as a citizen of the great Dominion, I urge that this bill be passed. I have had many college students express to me their hurt over parents, teachers, peers, and religious leaders telling them that they are wrong. Indeed, this is long overdue. "all men (and women) are equal".

Melanie Boynton writes:

I urge the legislature to pass this bill. No one - regardless of the reason - should experience discrimination. It is time that Virginia joins the rest of the country in affording LGBT individuals the same basic rights as other citizens.

Holly Smith writes:

We're moving forward from a time when it was normal to discriminate against someone based on their sexual orientation. Let's keep moving down that path.

Raul Baragiola writes:

As a long-time advocate for human rights, and a university professor, I support this bill. Virginia should grow past its history of discrimination in higher education regarding blacks and women.

Jim Cohoon writes:

I urge the legislature to pass this bill.

Anna LoMascolo writes:

This is long past due. Please pass this bill!