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Equal treatment for all

Editor:

Americans take pride in the fact that they live in a country that is dedicated to human liberty and equality, and they have come to associate both of these principles with human happiness. The challenge over the last 200-plus years has been to align our practices with these principles. The last 50 years has been a period of enormous progress in this regard, but the job is still incomplete. The Virginia General Assembly has an opportunity this year to insure that full equality is accorded to all of its residents.

As the director of Farmville Pride, an organization that works to promote equal treatment for all persons in our community, I am writing to voice support for several legislative bills that would protect gay and transgender persons from discrimination in housing and employment. We believe that Virginia, and indeed the entire country, is at its strongest when we are all free to work hard, earn a living, and go about our lives without fear of discrimination.

Many people are surprised to learn that it is actually still legal under our state’s laws to discriminate against gay and transgender people in public employment and housing. Many organizations came together in Richmond last week to encourage members of the General Assembly to support legislation that would advance the cause of equality and liberty in Virginia. The 220,000 persons who make up the LGBT community in Virginia are not seeking “special” treatment, they are only seeking “equal” treatment.

The Virginia Senate has passed these protections for the previous three years and we believe that it is time that the House of Delegates does the same. Discrimination is wrong, and we are urging our state delegates do something about it. Virginia can pass common-sense, bipartisan legislation this year to protect gay and transgender people in public employment and housing and to move equality forward in the Commonwealth.

Stephen Marion

Director

Farmville Pride