Friday, February 09, 2018

Virginia Republicans Kill LGBT Bills, Give Amazon the Finger

Anti-gay bigot Del. Jason S. ­Miyares (R- Virginia Beach)
One hears Republicans ad nausea claiming to be the party of business and economic growth yet yesterday a small cabal of  Republicans on the House of Delegates General Laws subcommittee (i.e., Delegates Fowler, Wright, Knight, Bell, Richard P., Miyares) voted to kill four pro-LGBT bills and prevent them from getting a vote by the entire committee much less the full House.  And this was done in an atmosphere where Amazon is under growing pressure to turn down sites for its second headquarters with 50,000 jobs and a $5 billion investment. One of the bills killed would have afforded non-discrimination protections in housing. Another would have protected state employees from employment discrimination.  The excuse for action?  The usual bull shit about "protecting religious liberty" as if protecting bigots isn't a form of attack on those with differing religious beliefs.   With today's GOP, it is all about self-prostitution to the modern day Pharisee Christofascists.  The rights of so-called "Nones," Hindus, Muslims and others not subscribing to Christofacist hate and bigotry simply do not matter.  The lesson from this is that LGBT Virginians, their allies and Millennials MUST get organized and turn out at the polls in November, 2018, and again in November, 2019, and defeat Republicans in every election contest possible.  Locally, Del. Jason S. ­Miyares (R-Virginia Beach) and Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach/Chesapeake) need to be targeted for defeat in 2019.  The Washington Post looks at yesterday's disgusting event.  Here are highlights:
Bills meant to protect gay and transgender people from housing and employment discrimination died in a Republican-dominated House panel Thursday, prompting jeers of “Shame!” from activists who packed a Capitol hearing room.
On a straight party-line vote, members of a General Laws subcommittee voted 5 to 2 to kill four bills, some of which had already cleared the Republican-controlled state Senate, which tends to be more socially moderate than the House.
“The vast majority of fair-minded Virginians support these long-overdue protections that were passed with strong bipartisan support in the Republican-controlled Senate,” said Marty Rouse, national field director of the Human Rights Campaign. “House Republican leaders are completely out of step with what voters made clear at the ballot box in November.”
Opponents of the bills contend that they could have interfered with religious freedom, with some suggesting that religious institutions such as Liberty University could be forced to let gay couples occupy its dorms for married students.
Only one Republican on the panel spoke to the measures before the votes. Del. Jason S. ­Miyares (R-Virginia Beach) said he was torn between the desire to “treat everybody with dignity and respect” and the need to protect religious freedom. He said he would be willing to work toward a compromise, but not this year. The four bills were all brought by Democrats, Sens. Adam P. Ebbin (Alexandria) and Jennifer T. Wexton (Loudoun) and Dels. Marcus B. Simon (Fairfax) and Mark H. Levine (Alexandria). Ebbin and Levine are two of only a few openly gay lawmakers. Last month, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed an executive order shortly after his inauguration banning such discrimination in government employment. One of the bills would have codified that into law. Jeff Caruso of the Virginia Catholic Conference said the bills could force faith-based colleges and organizations to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs. . . . Bill Janis of the Family Foundation suggested the measures were unnecessary because the largest employers in Richmond already prohibit anti-discrimination in hiring. 

Note the toxic influence of the Catholic Church which remains an enemy of LGBT individuals and The Family Foundation, Virginia's leading hate group, to whom Virginia Republicans bow and genuflect. 

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