LGBT rights groups, led by Equality Virginia, the largest such group in the state, are rallying around an antidiscrimination bill ahead of the 2013 legislative session - just 30-days long, starting Jan. 9. The bill, SB701, would prohibit employment discrimination based upon a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, defining ’’sexual orientation’’ as a person’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality or homosexuality, and also as gender identity or expression. Ahead of the 2013 session, the bill has already been introduced by Sen. A. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond, Henrico, Charles City), and co-sponsored by the General Assembly’s sole out gay legislator, Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Arlington, Alexandria). Three similar bills failed in the House of Delegates in the 2012 session, killed in committee. A Senate bill introduced last session was also killed after Republicans, who hold an 8-7 edge on the Committee on General Laws and Technology, forced a party-line vote on a motion denying debate on the bill. During the 2011 session, when Democrats controlled the upper chamber, a similar bill passed the Senate, but later died in committee in the House.
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