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Thu May 12, 2016, 12:22 PM

Virginia attorney general issues opinion on gay, transgender rights

Virginia attorney general issues opinion on gay, transgender rights

By Jenna Portnoy
@jennaportnoy

May 10 at 2:54 PM 

RICHMOND — Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring said Tuesday that courts would probably rule that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity violates state law. ... The opinion, which came in response to a request by a conservative lawmaker and not as a reaction to a specific case, follows the increasing recognition by courts and federal agencies that sex discrimination laws protect gay and transgender people, LGBT advocates say.
....

The opinion stemmed from a request by Del. David A. LaRock (R- Loudoun), who sought definitions for “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” and asked how they relate to Virginia’s various statues prohibiting sex discrimination. ... LaRock said the issue is about “original intent.”

“Common sense if nothing else tells me when these laws were passed in Virginia and at the federal level, neither anticipated that sex was meant to encompass sexual orientation and gender identity,” he said. ... Everyone deserves protection from discrimination, but the LGBT community is asking for “special preference,” he said.
....

Earlier this year, LaRock tried unsuccessfully to pass a law overturning a Fairfax School Board policy that includes transgender students and staff members in the school system’s nondiscrimination policy. ... The right-leaning Family Foundation of Virginia said the Virginia General Assembly and Congress, both of which are controlled by Republicans, have repeatedly declined to protect sexual orientation “because no evidence of egregious discrimination exists.”

Attorney general issues opinion on sex discrimination laws

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