Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Virginia Republicans Kill LGBT Non-Discrimination Law

Anti-gay Republican Tommy Norment 
One would have thought that after their severe drubbing last November, Virginia Republicans might have gotten the message that their discriminatory - and at times racist - policies are not acceptable to Virginia voters.  Apparently nine Republicans - Senators Obenshain, Norment, McDougle, Stuart, Stanley, Reeves, Chafin, Sturtevant, and Peake - missed the message from voters and started off the 2018 Virginia General Assembly session by killing a bill that would have protected LGBT Virginians from discrimination and provided civil remedies.  All of the Democrats on the Courts of Justice Committee - Senators Saslaw, Howell, Lucas, Edwards, Deeds, Petersen - voted for the bill.  Sadly, these events are in keeping with past Republican tactics of killing pro-LGBT bills in committee rather than allow them a full vote where they might pass.  Here are details on this bigoted situation:  
The bill was stopped in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee by a 9-6 vote, according to PinkNews. The nine dissenting votes all came from Republican committee members, while the other six came from Democrats.
“Adds disability, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation to the categories of victims whose intentional selection for a hate crime involving assault, assault and battery, or trespass for the purpose of damaging another's property results in a higher criminal penalty for the offense,” the bill reads.
The bill would have required crimes against LGBT and disabled persons to be reported to the Virginia State Police database. lt would have also allowed people with vandalized homes to bring civil charges about to recover damages if the vandalization was because of their gender or sexual identity.
Currently, Virginia is one of 20 states without protections for LGBT individuals, according to PinkNews.
In states without protections, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act allows the federal government to pursue charges in states with no LGBT hate crime laws. The 2009 bill signed into effect by former President Barack Obama expanded the 1969 federal hate crimes law to include LGBT protections, . . . 
When LGBT Virginians and pro-LGBT businesses are selecting legal counsel, they might want to avoid Mr. Norment and his law firm, Kaufman & Canoles in favor of firms that have a pro-LGBT record. 

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