Today a Global petition will be delivered to Virginia House of Delegates, protesting a law that will allow business owners to discriminate against customers based on their sexual orientation.
The Virginia Bill (HB-1414) , which was introduced by the notoriously anti-gay lawmaker Bob Marshall, states that anyone holding a business license from the state of Virginia in the state can refuse service or entry to gay people, on the grounds it “would violate the religious or moral convictions of such person with respect to same-sex ‘marriage’ or homosexual behavior.”
The Bill would also mean that doctors and teachers could also refuse LGBT people lawfully.
Today, a Global petition organised by All Out will be delivered in front of the General Assembly to urge delegates to reject the anti-gay bill. The petition currently 134,000 signatures, 40,000 of which are US citizens.
“If the proposed anti-gay law passes, it would allow doctors to turn away gay patients. Movie theatres or restaurants could throw someone out just because they are perceived to be gay,” said Andre Banks, Executive Director of All Out.
James Parrish, executive director with LGBT group Equality Virginia added, “Businesses and service agencies that are open to the public should be open to everybody on the same terms, including to LGBT customers and clients. While we all have the freedom to practice the religion of our choosing, we cannot use those beliefs to discriminate against others. Discrimination is wrong – it’s that simple. Discrimination under the guise of religious freedom is still discrimination and Virginia is better than that.”
Despite the views of lawmaker Bob Marshall, a number of legislators sitting on the House General Laws Committee are in opposition to the bill. Delegate Betsy Carr said that she condemns the Bill and will continue to support Virginia’s LGBT community.
“I stand with many Virginians in support of the LGBT community. The continued advancement of our Commonwealth depends on equal opportunities for success for all citizens. HB 1414 does not help work towards this goal and is a step in the wrong direction.”
After the treatment of the bill was postponed last week, a five delegate subcommittee of Virginia’s House of Delegates are expected to consider the bill on Thursday.
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