January 9, 2017

By Safe Space, Inc. Secretary, Charles A. Sumpter, Jr.

Transgender FlagVirginia Delegate Bob Marshall has filed HB1612, a bill that would ban access to restrooms for transgender Virginians—similar to North Carolina’s infamous HB2.

Safe Space, Inc. stands with Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe as he promises to veto the proposed bill that would allow people to sue the state if they found a transgender person in the restroom.

What makes this bill even more invasive is that it goes further than just bathrooms – it also requires principals of public schools to notify a parent or legal guardian within 24 hours if their student “requests to be recognized or treated as the opposite sex, to use a name or pronoun inconsistent with the child’s sex, or to use a restroom or other facility designated for the opposite sex.”

Governor McAuliffe has been clear that he will veto any bill that restricts the rights of Virginians based on sexual orientation or gender identity according to the Governor’s Communications Director. The governor has long touted Virginia as a welcoming, business and LGBTQ friendly environment for people to work and play. “As we saw in North Carolina, these bills don’t just hamper civil rights – they kill jobs. The Governor is hopeful that Republicans in the General Assembly will drop these counterproductive bills and turn their focus toward building a stronger and more equal Virginia economy.”

Governor McAuliffe went one step further. Two days after Delegate Marshall introduced his bill, McAuliffe signed an executive order making it illegal for state employees, contractors and subcontractors to discriminate against anyone because of how they identify or who they love. “Starting today, the commonwealth of Virginia will not do business with entities that discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” said McAuliffe in a statement. “Virginia is home to the best state workforce in the country and this policy will ensure there is no question that all Virginians are to receive the full benefits of their citizenship, without regard to their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The Virginia General Assembly convenes next Wednesday and their number one job should be tackling a billion dollar budget shortfall. The priority should be finding ways to invest in education, transportation, and jobs, NOT targeting transgender Virginians.

It was estimated that North Carolina lost more than $600 million in the six months after then Gov. McCrory signed HB2 legislation into law.  Protecting Virginia from similar millions in losses is simple: don’t pass unnecessary laws that discriminate against Virginians.

Safe Space, Inc. strongly opposes this action by Delegate Marshall and urges everyone to contact their state representatives to publicly reject this misguided legislation that unfairly targets transgender Virginians and jeopardizes our vibrant economy.