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Cross posted from Blue Virginia

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If you hadn't heard, SB701 - a bill that would have protected lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender state employees in Virginia - was tabled in House subcommittee last night. Here's some video demonstrating the type of mentality that leads to a no-brainer bill like this being voted down, as opposed to being passed unanimously as it should be. Sadly, it's the unbelievable ignorance of people like Virginia Del. Todd Gilbert (R-15th) - as exhibited in this video; see transcript of Gilbert's remarks below - that result in the kind of travesty we saw last year, with openly gay Judge Tracy Thorne-Begland being rejected simply because of his sexual orientation (note that Del. Gilbert refused to vote for Thorne-Begland's nomination last year). And no, although judicial nominees would not have been affected by this bill, Thorne-Begland's example demonstrates in a glaring way that discrimination is alive and well in Virginia, and in public employment.

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I’ve heard this bill several years in a row. Among all the people who spoke, there was not a single example of  one that was discriminated against in public employment.  I challenge those in the room to bring forth an example.

I was told the following year that there would be a line out the door of people with examples of having been discriminated against in public employment. There was not a single example anyone that felt that except that abstract fear that we’ve heard testified here today. I heard the gentlewoman today say that Virginia Commonwealth - VCU is this oppressive and intolerant environment.  I dare say that’s probably not true.  The examples we’ve heard from today have actually reaffirmed that people are interested in coming to Virginia and engaging in careers here and are thriving in the process of engaging in those careers. I think the many people that testify in their roles in higher education demonstrate that there is no problem this bill solves and once again, we’ve heard from many people about this specter of oppression that really doesn’t exist because we don’t have a single example of anyone who has been discriminated against for this reason.

P.S. For Daily Kos readers, let me just remind everybody that Virginia holds elections in November for the House of Delegates (as well as Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General). Right now, despite Virginia being a state with two Democratic U.S. Senators, and despite Barack Obama carrying the state twice, there are only 32 Democrats in the 100-member House of Delegates, thanks to a combination of odd-year elections (much lower turnout for OUR voters than for theirs, unfortunately) and Republican gerrymandering. Anyway, whatever help national, progressive netroots activists can provide this year to Virginia Democrats would be much appreciated. Thanks.
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