Late yesterday a House General Laws sub-committee defeated legislation (SB 701) that would have elevated sexual behavior to a protected class in the state’s hiring laws. The sub-committee voted down the measure by a vote of 5-1.
The patron, Senator Donald McEachin (D-9, Richmond), has carried similar legislation for many years. Several people testified in favor of the measure, some from Virginia’s universities, such as VCU and William and Mary. All claimed a “climate of fear,” believing that they can be fired for their sexual behavior. But no one, again this year, could present a single case of anyone who has actually been discriminated against. Statistics from the state show that there have been no confirmed cases of discrimination based on sexual behavior or “orientation.”
That point was made by Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15, Woodstock), a long-time member of the sub-committee. He stated that he has asked proponents to present actual evidence of discrimination, but no one has presented any such evidence, nor did they this year. He made the motion to defeat the bill.
Proponents also argued that Virginia is “losing talent” because we haven’t elevated sexual behavior to a protected class. However, Virginia annually is recognized as one of the best managed states in the nation and a state with an exceptional business climate. Unfortunately, if people have a fear of being discriminated against, it comes from the rhetoric and fear-mongering of proponents of this legislation, and not from actual discrimination.
Should sexual behavior be elevated to protected status, the next steps no doubt will be to discriminate against faith-based organizations that partner with the state on assisting the needy, providing adoption services, and a host of other ministries, simply because they may have a viewpoint of human sexuality that runs counter to proponents of this measure. We hear a lot of contrivance around hear about the unleashed horrors of “unintended consequences” certain bills may allow. But the intended consequences of this bill to religious liberty, if ever passed, are frightening.