Virginia Governor Issues Executive Order to Ban LGBT Employment Discrimination
“My administration will work tirelessly to ensure that opportunities are equal for all of Virginia’s children – no matter if you’re a girl or a boy, no matter what part of the Commonwealth you live in, no matter your race or religion, and no matter whom you love. There is still work to do.” – Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe
Barring the discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in the workplace has been a long and uphill battle but thankfully, some of our elected officials refuse to wait another minute to ensure that protection. Immediately after being sworn into office on Sunday, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe issued an executive order banning the discrimination of LGBT individuals who are employed by government agencies in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
While former Governors Tim Kaine and Mark Warner had banned discrimination against state employees on the basis of sexual orientation during their times in office, this is the first time such an ordinance has been gender identity inclusive.
This executive order brings the United States just one step closer to ensuring workplace protection for the LGBT community in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Every time a Governor issues an executive order, every time a state passes a law and every time a business adopts a policy to not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, our country builds hope for the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
As Reform Jews, we can recall a time when we faced discrimination and were barred from employment opportunities. Judaism teaches respect for the fundamental rights of others and because of what we have faced, we believe: “what is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor” (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a). We have a responsibility to ensure the rights of all people and commend Gov. McAuliffe for taking a stand against discrimination.