On Monday, the Senate General Laws Committee voted to pass two bills which directly endanger our liberty and elevate sexual orientation and gender identity as a protect class within our state law.
The dangers of adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the list of specially protected classes are many. These characteristics, which are not immutable, would be elevated to the significance of other traits like race, sex and disability. If traits which are neither fixed, readily identifiable, nor unalienable can be elevated to the level of those which do have those qualities, then the purpose of anti-discrimination laws is completely undermined.
Furthermore, we know full well by now that these laws have the direct effect weaponizing state government to be able to punish those who have a viewpoint that runs contrary to the government when it comes to marriage and human sexuality. Case in point: Atlanta, Georgia fire chief Kevin Cochrane who was fired – not for “discriminatory” action – but for writing his personal, morally based opinion about human sexuality in a book.
The bills are also vague in that the define sexual orientation as “a person's actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality” (whatever that means?) and gender identity as “the gender-related identity, appearance, or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, without regard to the individual's designated sex at birth.” This will inevitably create a nightmare for government officials, religious institutions, landlords, and property managers, while inviting endless lawsuits filed by persons who can now claim they were denied something based upon these faulty definitions.
Ultimately, however, proponents have offered no proof that discrimination is taking place. In state government, according to the Virginia Department of Resource Management, there have been no cases of proven discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity since 2010.
Unfortunately, several Republican Senators who generally support religious liberty and voted for these bills:
Supporting SB 12: Repbulican Senators David Suetterlein and Jill Vogel, and every Democrat on the Committee. Republican Senator Bill DeSteph abstained.
Supporting SB 67: Senators Suetterlein, Vogel, DeSteph, and every Democrat on the Committee.
These bills are all the more reason why it’s important that your Senators and Delegates hear from you and oppose policies which adopt dubious categories into our anti-discrimination policies.