Bipartisan Support for Equality in VA General Assembly

September 29, 2003

Dyana Mason, Equality Virginia, 804-643-4816
Joshua Israel, Virginia Partisans, 703-527-9149
David Lampo, Log Cabin Republicans of Virginia, 202-789-5286


Strong Bi-Partisan Count Shows Growing Support for Equality

In an unprecedented statewide coalition effort, nearly half of all General Assembly members, Governor Mark Warner, Lt. Governor Tim Kaine and Attorney General Jerry Kilgore signed pledges or made policy statements stating that they will not discriminate in their legislative office on the basis of sexual orientation. Twenty Senators and 43 Delegates made commitments when asked jointly by Equality Virginia, Log Cabin Republican Club of Virginia and the Virginia Partisans Gay & Lesbian Democratic Club.

The policy statements also had strong bi-partisan support, with 14 Democrats and 6 Republicans in the Senate and 20 Republicans and 23 Democrats in the House of Delegates.

“It is incredibly exciting that nearly half of our legislature, many in leadership positions, and our statewide officials have agreed to the basic principle that a person’s job qualifications, not their sexual orientation, is the sole requirement for employment”, said Dyana Mason, Equality Virginia Executive Director. “The fact that the statements had such bi-partisan support demonstrates that these policies make common-sense for the 21st century workplace.”

By making this commitment, they also joined a growing group of legislators who have committed to similar non-discrimination pledges. In the 107th U.S. Congress (2001-2002), 304 Congressmembers signed or agreed to a nearly identical pledge requested by the national group the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

“This is a very important step for Virginia. A substantial number of our elected officials have gone on record, many for the first time, on the side of inclusion of all–regardless of sexual orientation”,said Joshua Israel, President of the Virginia Partisans. “We were especially pleased that nearly the entire Senate Democratic Caucus stood with us on this and a large majority of the House Democrats signed as well.”

Although neither Federal nor Virginia state law prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, employment policies that include sexual orientation continue to grow across the country. Recent surveys by HRC found that 328 of the Fortune 500 Companies, and over 250 local city and county governments extend their non-discrimination policies to sexual orientation.

“This was a remarkable effort with great results” said Rebecca Maestri, President of the Log Cabin Republican Club of Virginia. “We are especially pleased with the number of Republicans in leadership positions who have nondiscrimination policies. These results show what can be achieved when our community works together.”

The three groups will work to build on the current count through in-district lobby visits and one-on-one meetings throughout the year and during the General Assembly session, especially targeting new members of the 2004 General Assembly.


Equality Virginia ( is a statewide non-partisan lobbying, education and support network for the GLBT community in Virginia. Founded in 1989 as Virginians for Justice, EV has members across the Commonwealth. EV seeks equality for all Virginians by lobbying the General Assembly, organizing communities and educating the public.

Log Cabin Republican Club of Virginia works to promote understanding of the concerns of gays and lesbians within the Republican Party, to promote the Republican Party in the gay community, to build a tolerant and open Republican Party dedicated to a strong national defense, free trade, less domestic regulation, lower taxes, individual responsibility and freedom as well as economic freedom, and to help elect Republican candidates committed to these principles.

The Virginia Partisans Gay & Lesbian Democratic Club, a nonprofit organization, serves as a channel for the participation and involvement of gays and lesbians in the Democratic Party in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Partisans are Virginia’s chapter of the National Stonewall Democrats and work to elect gay- and gay-friendly Democrats to all levels of government.


Non-Discrimination Commitments
As of September 29, 2003

(District First Last Party Notes)

3 Thomas Norment R
5 Yvonne Miller D
7 Frank Wagner R
9 Benjamin Lambert D
10 John Watkins R
11 Stephen Martin R
16 Henry Marsh III D
17 Edd Houck D
18 Louise Lucas D
20 Roscoe Reynolds D
21 John Edwards D
25 Creigh Deeds D
27 Russell Potts R
28 John Chichester R, Senate President Pro Tempore, Chmn. Finance Cmte
30 Patricia Ticer D
31 Mary Margaret Whipple D, Senate Democratic Caucus Chair
32 Janet Howell D
34 Leslie Byrne D
35 Richard Saslaw D, Senate Democratic Leader
36 Toddy Puller D

Count 20 14 D, 6 R


8 Morgan Griffith R,
House Majority Leader
10 Ward Armstrong D
11 Clifton Woodrum D
12 Jim Shuler D
14 Danny Marshall R
15 Allen Louderback R
17 A. Victor Thomas D
23 Preston Bryant R
26 Glenn Weatherholtz R
34 Vince Callahan R, Chair, Appropriations Committee
35 Jeannemarie Devolites R, Majority Whip
36 Kenneth Plum D
37 JC Petersen D
38 Bob Hull D
39 Vivian Watts D
41 Jim Dillard R, Chair, Education Committee
42 David Albo R
43 Tom Bolvin R
44 Kristen Amundsen D
45 Marian Van Landingham D
46 Brian Moran D, Chair, House Democratic Caucus
47 James Almand D
48 Bob Brink D
49 Karen Darner D
50 Harry Parrish R, Chair, Finance Committee
51 Michele McQuigg R
53 James Scott D
55 Frank Hargrove R
57 Mitchell Van Yahres D
63 Fenton Bland D
64 William Barlow D
69 Franklin Hall D, House Minority Leader
71 Viola Baskerville D
74 Floyd Miles D
81 Terrie Suit R
82 Bob Purkey R
83 Leo Wardrup R, Chair, House Republican Caucus
85 Bob Tata R
86 Thomas Rust R
87 Thelma Drake R
89 Kenneth Alexander D
95 Flora Crittenden D
98 Harvey Morgan R, Chair, Commerce and Labor Committee

Count 43 R20, D23

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