"In truth, this legislation has nothing to do with religious freedom and everything to do with taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ people."
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) blasted the General Laws Committee of the Virginia House of Delegates for advancing HB 2025 -- discriminatory legislation that seeks to give taxpayer-funded agencies and service providers a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people under the guise of religion.
The anti-LGBTQ proposal is being pushed by Delegate Nicholas Freitas and will now move to the full House of Delegates.
"The right to practice one's own religion is already firmly protected in the U.S. Constitution," said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.
"In truth, this legislation has nothing to do with religious freedom and everything to do with taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ people. Virginia lawmakers should look closely at the fallout in North Carolina and the state's deeply discriminatory HB2 law before plowing down a similarly destructive path. The Virginia House of Delegates must abandon this reckless legislation."
HB 2025 could allow taxpayer-funded organizations like homeless shelters and adoption agencies to refuse service to same-sex couples, transgender people, and anyone suspected of having intimate relationships outside of a heterosexual marriage (such as single mothers or a cohabiting straight couple) without losing taxpayer funding, contracts, licensing, or other forms of state recognition. A similar discriminatory proposal was vetoed in 2016 by Governor Terry McAuliffe.
The attack on fairness and equality in Virginia is part of an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ bills being pushed in 2017 by anti-equality activists around the country.
HRC is currently tracking 53 anti-LGBTQ legislative proposals in 17 states.
For more information, visit http://hrc.im/2017legislature
The original rainbow flag, called the Freedom Flag, was devised by Gilbert Baker in 1978. The design has undergone several revisions since its debut with 8 colored stripes, and today the most common variant consists of 6 stripes: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.
Picture of Gilbert Baker's original Freedom Flag showing the meaning of the 8 colors.