As the Washington Blade reports, a new poll indicates that a majority of Virginia Republicans support the enactment of LGBT non-discrimination protections. Sadly, that does not guarantee passage at long last of such protections by the Virginia General Assembly. Why? Because the Virginia GOP remains under the control of The Family Foundation, Virginia's leading hate group, and Christofascist extremists like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, Jr. Of course, at the national level, Trump has sold his soul - if he has one, which I doubt - to a who's who of Christofascists even as Mike and Karen Pence celebrate anti-LGBT discrimination as they play their false false Christian martyr roles. Time will tell if the pending non-discrimination bills survive the GOP controlled House of Delegates. The best solution long term is to flip control of both the Virginia Senate and the House of Delegates to Democrats come November 2019. Here are excerpts from the Blade article:
A new poll finds a majority of Virginia Republicans support efforts to ban anti-LGBT discrimination.Mason-Dixon Polling between Jan. 7-9 asked Republicans voters in Virginia whether they supported protections for LGBT individuals in housing and public employment. The survey found 53 percent of Republicans would support “legislation at the General Assembly this year that would update Virginia’s nondiscrimination laws to protect gay and transgender people from discrimination in housing.” And 63 percent would support similar legislation in public employment.
These results come 11 months after The Tarrance Group, a Republican polling firm, conducted a similar survey. The February 2018 survey found 55 percent of Republican voters believed discrimination against gay and transgender people in housing should be illegal and 59 percent believed similar discrimination in public employment should be forbidden.
The Republican Party of Virginia’s 2016 platform makes no mention of LGBT people or protections. It explicitly opposes same-sex marriage and “condemns” the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in the Windsor and Obergefell cases that paved the way for same-sex marriage across the nation. And in its discussion of religious liberty, it implies that businesses should be able to discriminate against LGBT people.
The idea that a majority of Republican voters in any state would support nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people would be ludicrous based on this document alone, but many are saying they expected these survey results.
“This is a trend we’re seeing across the country. Voters simply have no appetite for discrimination and want to be sure that their friends and neighbors are protected the same way they are,” said Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof. “The ground really has shifted on these issues of discrimination against the LGBTQ community. There is much more support for these anti-discrimination efforts.”
Winterhof noted legislation in most states hasn’t caught up to this new level of public support.
Virginia is one of 31 states that lacks protections for LGBT people in housing and public employment. “The ground has shifted, but lawmakers … didn’t get that memo, and we’re certainly trying to educate and share more of that information,” said Winterhof.
[James] Parrish [of Equality Virginia] said Republican support for LGBT equality has lagged behind that of the general public but that “support for LGBT issues among all Americans has been inching up for decades.” In Virginia specifically, Parrish pointed to two instances from the past five years that he believes led to a shift in attitudes toward LGBT issues.
In Bostic v. Schaefer, a U.S. district court ruled the Marshall-Newman Amendment in Virginia’s Constitution that defines marriage as between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the 2014 decision, and in October of that same year, the Supreme Court refused to take up the case. Bostic v. Schaefer legalized same-sex marriage in Virginia before it was permitted in much of the rest of the country.
Danica Roem, the first openly transgender member of the state House of Delegates, in 2017 defeated consistently anti-LGBT Bob Marshall who Parrish noted introduced “quite a number of bills to harm our community.”
“That also brought change,” said Parrish. Equality Virginia has focused some of its recent efforts on gathering favor for LGBT protections among Republicans.
Trump has banned transgender individuals from serving in the military, and Vice President Pence recently defended his wife’s decision to take a job at a school that forbids LGBT employees and students. As an entity, the GOP remains staunchly opposed to any legislation that would advance LGBT equality. Individual politicians may be changing their tune, but the Republican Party’s official stance looks to be set in stone for at least the next two years and likely longer.