Senators Barbara A. Favola (D-31) and Richard H. Black (R-13)—on the opposite ends of Richmond’s political spectrum—have taken different tacks on gender identity and sexuality.
Black has signed onto a bill introduced by Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-13) HB 77) that would exclude federal administrative policies, rules, and regulations adopted in 2012 or later from inclusion in the Virginia Human Rights Act.
“This is directed toward the movement for having men use women’s bathrooms, and we’ve encountered this in a couple of places in Virginia,” Black said. “We have some rather perverse individuals who say, you know, ‘I can take advantage of federal anti-discrimination laws and I can go in and use the women’s bathroom and nobody can stop me.’”
Black said the bill addresses a loophole in the law that “creates a very dangerous situation” for women. The bill has been referred to House Committee on General Laws.
Favola, meanwhile, has introduced SB 82, which would include crimes committed because of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity in the Virginia definition of a hate crime, which would also trigger a requirement that these crimes be reported to state police. “All I’m asking is that these crimes actually be reported to the state police,” Favola said. “I have to believe that even people who are anti-gay and have all these issues—I have to believe they would not want somebody killed because of who they are.”
The bill has been referred to the Committee for Courts of Justice.