Terry McAuliffe on Thursday (23 March) set an all-time record for the most vetoes by a Virginia governor by rejecting two ‘religious freedom’ bills.
Senate Bill (SB 1324) and House Bill (HB) 2025 sought to give taxpayer-funded agencies and service providers such as homeless shelters and adoption agencies a license to discriminate against LGBTI people and others based on religious beliefs.
‘Virginia is at its best when we’re open and welcoming to all – socially divisive legislation kills jobs, hurts our economy,’ McAuliffe wrote on Twitter.
‘SB1324 and HB2025, so-called “religious freedom” bills, would have shielded those who actively discriminate against same-sex couples.’
The Democratic governor’s vetoes were the 90th and 91st of his administration.
The Human Rights Campaign is among the groups praising the governor for his vetoes.
‘Governor Terry McAuliffe continues to solidify his place in history as a stalwart champion of fairness and equality,’ said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs.
‘In truth, this vile legislation had nothing to do with protecting the right to practice one’s religion and everything to do with enshrining taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ people into state law.
‘By vetoing this discriminatory legislation, Governor McAuliffe has sent a powerful and inclusive message that Virginia is welcoming and open for business to all. We urge the Virginia Legislature to uphold this decision.’
A similar law was passed in Mississippi last year but ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge and has not gone into effect.
It remains pending at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.