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Virginia becomes first southern state to enact sweeping protections for LGBTQ community

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam gestures during a news conference at the Capitol Wednesday April 8, 2020, in Richmond, Va. Northam gave an update on his COVID-19 plans. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam gestures during a news conference at the Capitol Wednesday April 8, 2020, in Richmond, Va. Northam gave an update on his COVID-19 plans. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia is now the first southern state to enact comprehensive protections for the LGBTQ community, according to Gov. Ralph Northam’s office.

According to the statement sent out by Northam’s office, the Virginia Values Act bars discrimination in housing, employment, public spaces and credit applications.

Senate Bill 868, sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin, also extends protections to Virginians "on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, and status as a veteran.”

"This legislation sends a strong, clear message—Virginia is a place where all people are welcome to live, work, visit, and raise a family,” said Northam. “We are building an inclusive Commonwealth where there is opportunity for everyone, and everyone is treated fairly. No longer will LGBTQ Virginians have to fear being fired, evicted, or denied service in public places because of who they are.”