Governor Terry McAuliffe signs new executive order on
nondiscrimination in public services and state contracting
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 5, 2017
Contact: Joseph Papa, firstname.lastname@example.org; 804.643.4816
CHARLOTTESVILLE – Commonwealth of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe today signed Executive Order 61 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity by Virginia’s contractors, subcontractors, and state employees. “In addition to keeping Virginia a place with a commonsense, pro-business government, today’s Executive Order is a huge leap forward in our goal toward becoming a state that is a safe, welcoming, and equal place for all Virginians. We are grateful for the continued leadership demonstrated by Governor McAuliffe on gay and transgender issues,” said Equality Virginia’s executive director James Parrish, adding that “This policy is simply good business practice—taxpayers should expect that their money will not be used to support organizations that discriminate.” A 2015 study by the Williams Institute at UCLA showed that 80% of Virginians support workplace protections for gay and transgender individuals.
Today’s Executive Order affirms and extends the Commonwealth’s nondiscrimination policy by prohibiting discrimination by state contractors against LGBT Virginians in employment, subcontracting, and the delivery of goods and services. Furthermore, the Executive Order prohibits discrimination in the provision of state services, meaning that state employees cannot discriminate against LGBT Virginians. In addition to protecting LGBT people from discrimination, the Executive Order extends similar protections based on race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, political affiliation, disability, and veteran status.
Members of Virginia’s Gay and Lesbian Chambers of Commerce welcomed the news. “The Governor’s executive order is an important step toward opening the contracting and grant opportunities provided by the Commonwealth and assuring that all Virginians have an equal ability to participate in those opportunities” said Bary Hausrath, president of the Richmond Business Alliance, an organization of LGBTQ business owners and allies. “We look forward to working with Equality Virginia and the General Assembly to make sure that discrimination on the taxpayers’ dime has no place in the Commonwealth,” he added.
Parrish further praised the actions of the Governor, stating, “This Executive Order goes a long way towards keeping Virginia competitive to businesses and aligns the Commonwealth’s practices with those of most Fortune 500 companies.” The vast majority (89 percent) of Fortune 500 companies in the United States—and 17 of Virginia’s 18 Fortune 500 corporations—have nondiscrimination protections in place for gay and transgender employees. Parrish added, “Executive Order 61 is a critical step forward and will increase the number of individuals protected from discrimination. Comprehensive statewide legislation, however, remains a necessity for achieving uniform and complete prohibition of discrimination across the state.”
Equality Virginia is a statewide, non-partisan education, outreach, and advocacy organization seeking equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Virginians. Since 1989, EV has worked to end discrimination, protect families and build safe communities. More information is online at EqualityVirginia.org. Connect on Facebook.com/EqualityVA or Twitter @EqualityVA.