While Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly continue to push a Christofascist backed anti-LGBT agenda, Virginia's cities lead the way in creating a business friendly economy and society welcoming to all. The latest example id Norfolk amendment of its City Code to ban hiring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. No doubt there is gnashing of teeth going on among the hate merchants at The Family Foundation and Regent and Liberty universities. The Virginian Pilot looks at the development which will hopefully pressure other Hampton Roads cities to follow suit. Here are story highlights:
Discrimination in city hiring or contracting based on sexual orientation or gender identity is now illegal.
In two 8-0 votes, the City Council voted Tuesday night to add protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people – among others – to the law. They took effect immediately.
Councilman Martin Thomas Jr. said he was “very proud” to vote for the new measures.
“It was something that needed to be done,” he said. “Norfolk is an inclusive and diverse city.”
Michael Berlucchi, president of the LGBT rights group Hampton Roads Pride, called the changes “a big deal.”
“It changes policy, but it also changes culture,” Berlucchi said. “It sends a message about the posture our government takes toward a minority community like LGBT, and that’s really significant.”
Virginia Beach also has a policy prohibiting discrimination in city hiring based on sexual orientation or gender identity, a city spokeswoman said. Chesapeake lists sexual orientation as a protected class, but not gender identity, according to a city regulation. The anti-discrimination laws in Suffolk and Portsmouth do not include either category.
In Norfolk, city contractors were already barred from discriminating on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, disability or national origin.
The law passed Tuesday requires any city contract above $1,000 to include protections for sexual orientation, gender identity, age, genetic information, marital status, political affiliation, whistleblower activity, parental status and military service. Another new law provides all the same protections in city hiring.
Councilwoman Andria McClellan said Norfolk’s government has already been respectful of LGBT rights for years and has guidelines for how to treat an employee undergoing a gender identity transition.
But she and Thomas said they wanted to make sure the protections were codified in law. “I prefer to be on the cutting edge of equality,” Thomas said.
Meanwhile, in rural Republican voting regions in Southwest Virginia most residents cling to their bibles and bigotry and wonder why few, if any, businesses want to relocate to their areas. Bigotry carries an economic price - something lost on Christofascists and their self-prostituting Republican representatives. Kudos to Norfolk.