This week, Virginia legislators will be hearing two bills that will have the potential to grievously harm all Virginians, especially LGBT Virginians, and their rights to marriage equality.
If passed, SB 40 will allow government officials to refuse to provide marriage licenses to any couple if the officials have "an objection to the issuance of such license on personal, ethical, moral, or religious grounds.” In other words, Virginia clerks could pull the same stunts as Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis did last year and not face any consequences. The hearing for this bill is scheduled for Wednesday, February 3.
Like SB 40, SB 41 will allow state employees to discriminate against Virginians and interfere with their right to marry, this time by allowing judges to refuse to solemnize marriages if said marriage violates a sincerely held religious belief. This means a couple could be turned away by a government employee and forced to search for a government employee who is willing to perform their marriage. The hearing for this bill is scheduled for Monday, February 1.
We call upon Virginia legislators to remember that religion does not give anyone the right to discriminate against and harm their neighbors.