Virginia Nondiscrimination Bill Discriminates, Passes House of Delegates
The Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill Tuesday to grant protections for private businesses holding religious views that refuse service to gay and transgender individuals, along with individuals who have sex outside of marriage.
But House Bill 773, titled the Government Non-Discrimination Act, does exactly the opposite of its intended purpose, at least depending on who you are talking to.
The bill states,
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a government entity shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, in whole or in part, on the basis that such person believes, speaks, or acts in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that (i) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, (ii) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage, or (iii) the male sex and the term “man” and the female sex and the term “woman” refer to an individual’s biological sex as determined at birth.
Under this act, state agencies are denied the ability to reduce or cancel funding, contracts, and entitlements; alter tax treatment, or deny other benefits based on beliefs held by private entities such as believing marriage is solely between a man and a woman, sex is only for marriage, and that the terms man and woman are only based on biological sex.
If a company holds these views but doesn’t act on them, then it is not seen as as much of an issue. Saying, “I don’t agree with your lifestyle but we are still going to give you our services” is not as bad as “We are not going to serve you because you are X,Y, or Z.” The problem lies in that this act enables companies to openly discriminate and refuse service to specific groups of people and be completely protected from punishment from the government. Therefore, it seems that something aimed to be nondiscriminatory to one group is completely discriminatory to another.
The bill’s patron–Del. C. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, said that this bill is another way to protect businesses from the movement to push religion out of the public life, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.