The Virginia Senate passed a measure banning discrimination against gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals in state employment, reported Metro Weekly.
That would put the laws for public employees in line with private sector policies, according to the news outlet.
Senate Bill 701 received support from all 20 Democratic state senators, as well as four Republican state senators.
Whether the state’s House of Delegates, where Republicans have a 68-32 majority, will pass the measure remains to be seen. Advocates are hoping that grassroots pressure will get the lopsided chamber to also support the bill.
Equality Virginia is holding a “Day of Action” on Jan. 29, to encourage people to lobby legislators to get on board with the protections offered by the bill.
In 2011, the State Board of Social Services voted against a rule to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, reported the Washington Post. Only married couples and single men and women can adopt in the state.
Virginia also has a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, passed in 2006 by a voter referendum, and an attempt to begin to repeal it died recently in the Virginia legislature this month.
According to Human Rights Watch, 21 states and the District of Columbia ban employment discrimination based on sexual identity, 16 of which (along with D.C.) also ban discrimination based on gender identity.
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