The Human Rights Campaign (HRC)blasted the General Laws Committee of the Virginia House of Delegates for advancing HB 2025 — discriminatory legislation that seeks to give taxpayer-funded agencies and service providers a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people under the guise of religion. The anti-LGBTQ proposal is being pushed by Delegate Nicholas Freitas and will now move to the full House of Delegates.
“The right to practice one’s own religion is already firmly protected in the U.S. Constitution,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “In truth, this legislation has nothing to do with religious freedom and everything to do with taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ people. Virginia lawmakers should look closely at the fallout in North Carolina and the state’s deeply discriminatory HB2 law before plowing down a similarly destructive path. The Virginia House of Delegates must abandon this reckless legislation.”
“We recognize that religion is a vital part of many Virginians’ daily lives, but HB 2025 does not protect religious liberty. Instead, it provides a license to discriminate against loving LGBTQ families,” said Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish. Furthermore, its broad and vague definition of ‘person’ would set a dangerous precedent for discriminatory individuals and groups to be protected by our religious freedom laws.”
HB 2025 could allow taxpayer-funded organizations like homeless shelters and adoption agencies to refuse service to same-sex couples, transgender people, and anyone suspected of having intimate relationships outside of a heterosexual marriage (such as single mothers or a cohabiting straight couple) without losing taxpayer funding, contracts, licensing, or other forms of state recognition. A similar discriminatory proposal was vetoed in 2016 by Governor Terry McAuliffe.