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Virginia lawmakers send LGBTQ protections bill to governor

February 26, 2020 GMT
Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, waits to address a press conference ahead of the floor votes on SB 868, the Virginia Values Act, The event was held in the Jefferson Room of the State Capitol in Richmond, Va., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. In the background is Mara Keisling, Executive Director of The National Center for Transgender Equality. (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)
Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, waits to address a press conference ahead of the floor votes on SB 868, the Virginia Values Act, The event was held in the Jefferson Room of the State Capitol in Richmond, Va., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. In the background is Mara Keisling, Executive Director of The National Center for Transgender Equality. (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)
Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, waits to address a press conference ahead of the floor votes on SB 868, the Virginia Values Act, The event was held in the Jefferson Room of the State Capitol in Richmond, Va., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. In the background is Mara Keisling, Executive Director of The National Center for Transgender Equality. (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia lawmakers gave final passage Wednesday to a comprehensive anti-discrimination bill that advocates said will make the state the first in the South to enact such protections for LGBTQ people.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, public or private employment, public spaces and credit transactions. It also lays out causes of action that would allow individuals, or in certain circumstances the attorney general, to sue over alleged discrimination.

“We just made Virginia a safer and more fair state for everyone,” James Parrish, Director of the Virginia Values Coalition, a group of statewide and national organizations and individuals pushing for the protections, said in a statement.

Opponents have raised religious liberty concerns about the measure that passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has said he supports the bill and was expected to sign it.

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