Virginia Blocks LGBT Protections Law

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State Capitol of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Photo via Flickr / Ron Cogswell

Virginia’s legislature denied a law that would have added LGBT protections to state hate crime laws.

The bill was stopped in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee by a 9-6 vote, according to PinkNews. The nine dissenting votes all came from Republican committee members, while the other six came from Democrats.

“Adds disability, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation to the categories of victims whose intentional selection for a hate crime involving assault, assault and battery, or trespass for the purpose of damaging another's property results in a higher criminal penalty for the offense,” the bill reads.

The bill would have required crimes against LGBT and disabled persons to be reported to the Virginia State Police database. lt would have also allowed people with vandalized homes to bring civil charges about to recover damages if the vandalization was because of their gender or sexual identity.

Currently, Virginia is one of 20 states without protections for LGBT individuals, according to PinkNews.

In states without protections, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act allows the federal government to pursue charges in states with no LGBT hate crime laws. The 2009 bill signed into effect by former President Barack Obama expanded the 1969 federal hate crimes law to include LGBT protections, according to PinkNews.


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