Virginia Governor Puts Kibosh on GOP’s Religious Imposition Bills

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Virginia Governor Puts Kibosh on GOP’s Religious Imposition Bills

Michelle D. Anderson

The Republican-backed measures would have protected from civil liability those who actively discriminate against same-sex couples.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) broke the state’s veto record on Thursday after striking down two identical Republican bills that would have sanctioned discrimination against the state’s LGBTQ community.

McAuliffe said in a statement that the religious imposition measures, SB 1324 and HB 2025, would have protected from civil liability those who actively discriminate against same-sex couples. The legislation, he said, was nothing more than an attempt to stigmatize people and would hurt the state’s economy.

“We should be pursuing policies to make Virginia a more vibrant and welcoming place to live, work, and raise a family,” McAuliffe said.

Former Republican Gov. Jim Gilmore had set a 90-veto record that McAuliffe broke with his vetoes of the religious imposition bills, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

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Other recent vetoes by McAuliffe include HB 2264, which would have defunded Planned Parenthood in Virginia, as Rewire reported. The governor had vetoed a similar bill, HB 1090, in 2016.

McAuliffe in January vowed to veto an unconstitutional 20-week abortion ban if it landed on his desk.

Both bills, like similar legislation proposed by GOP lawmakers in Michigan and Iowa, would have prohibited the state from providing grants or contracting with entities that offer abortion care or maintain facilities where abortions are performed.

While Democrats control the executive branch in Virginia, Republicans hold majorities in both chambers of the general assembly. Lawmakers will reconvene in April, though Republicans lack the majorities needed to override a veto. McAuliffe has never had a veto overridden, the Times-Dispatch reported.

McAuliffe’s term began in 2014. A state law banning consecutive terms prohibits him from seeking re-election.