The Governor of Virginia has vetoed two bills to allow tax-payer funded agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples if they hold religious or moral objections.
The bills sought to allow taxpayer-funded agencies and service providers to discriminate against LGBT+ people.
House Bill 2025, which was being pushed by Delegate Nicholas Freitas, was earlier in February passed by the full House of Delegates.
The bill states that “no person shall be required to participate in the solemnisation of any marriage.”
People who do discriminate will not be “subject to any penalty” if they are seen to be acting in “accordance with a sincerely held religious belief.”
The bill will allow discrimination against same-sex couple wanting to marry.
It has since been passed by the House of Representatives with 53 to 38 in a final vote which.
The move was condemned by the Human Rights Campaign, which compared it to other discriminatory pieces of legislation across the US.
“Governor Terry McAuliffe continues to solidify his place in history as a stalwart champion of fairness and equality,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs.
“In truth, this vile legislation had nothing to do with protecting the right to practice one’s religion and everything to do with enshrining taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ people into state law. By vetoing this discriminatory legislation, Governor McAuliffe has sent a powerful and inclusive message that Virginia is welcoming and open for business to all. We urge the Virginia Legislature to uphold this decision.”
House Bill 2025 comes just after Virginia’s version of controversial bathroom-ban bill HB2 was killed without debate.
Introduced by Bob Marshall, the bill would have banned individuals from using a bathroom corresponding to any gender other than that displayed on their birth certificate.
The bill was quickly condemned by Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe, who vowed to fight against such legislation.
Following the doing away with Marshall’s bill, he accused legislators of breaking campaign promises.
Governor McAuliffe earlier this month signed an executive order protecting the rights of LGBT+ people in public services.
Governor Terry McAuliffe signed executive order 61, which protects the rights of LGBT people in public services.
The Order extends pre-existing protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity for state employees to contractors and in the delivery of state services.