Lawmakers in Virginia voted to approve a number of pro-LGBT laws.
According to the Virginia Mercury, the Virginia Senate voted to ban health professionals, such as counselors and psychologists, from performing conversion therapy on anyone under 18.
In that vote, 18 Republican members of the Virginia Senate voted against the ban on conversion therapy.
“I think if we looked at 95 percent of it, we could all agree on it,” said Sen. Steve Newman, R-Lynchburg. “There has been some activity over the past decade that we’d all want to ban. That would include shock therapy and … some odd camping where they took people to camps to do some odd things.
“But if you happen to be a counselor and happen to be a Christian, you are being told what you can and can’t say.”
In another approved law, the Senate voted to create uniform policies for transgender students attending public schools.
Under the law, school boards would be required to adopt policies and dress codes to prevent bullying and harassment.
In another law, the Senate voted to approve a change that will make it easier for transgender people to change their gender on their birth certificates.
The law requires “an affidavit provided by a health care provider from whom the person has received treatment stating that the person has undergone clinically appropriate treatment for the purpose of gender transition.” The law does not require that the person obtaining a new certificate to provide evidence they’ve undergone medical procedures.
The fourth law that was approved is a decision that would remove language from the state code banning gay marriage. Gay marriage was approved in 2015 by the Supreme Court, and the law change would change the language of the code to reflect that update.
“Right now same-gender marriage is legal in Virginia as it is throughout the country, and the code of Virginia needs to have legal ambiguity removed,” said Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, who sponsored the proposal and is the first openly gay person elected to the Virginia General Assembly.
The four laws now head to the House of Delegates for consideration. If approved there, Gov. Ralph Northam can sign them into law.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Christian Ouellet
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.