A bill that prohibits discrimination
based on sexual orientation and gender identity took effect on
Wednesday in Virginia.
Virginia is the first Southern state to
enact such a law.
Republicans, who had previously blocked
passage of the Virginia Values Act, lost control of the General
Assembly in November, opening the door for passage of several LGBT
rights bills, including the Virginia Values Act.
Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat,
signed the bill into law on April 11.
In a video for Global Pride, an online
celebration of LGBT Pride that took place on Saturday, Northam
applauded the measure.
“This victory shows the world that
with grit, determination, heart, and purpose, we can achieve the
civil rights that LGBTQ people need and deserve,” Northam said.
Alphonso David, president of the Human
Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate,
cheered the bill's enactment.
“Today is a day that LGBTQ Virginians
– and people of color, people of faith, immigrants, women, and more
– have been awaiting for decades. Now, they will finally be legally
protected from discrimination at work and in their communities,”
David said in a statement.
The Virginia Values Act prohibits
discrimination in employment and public accommodations. A Supreme
Court decision handed down last month expanded similar protections in
SCOTUS ruling on LGBT rights, Obama tweets “Happy Pride Month.”)