Virginia Senate Fails to Override Religious Freedom Bill Veto

The governor in a statement described the bill as “nothing more than an attempt to stigmatize.”

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The Virginia Senate on Thursday failed to override Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s veto of a religious freedom bill that critics said would have allowed anti-LGBT discrimination.

GayRVA reported that state Sen. Charles Carrico (R-Galax), who introduced Senate Bill 41, defended his measure before the vote.

“This bill is a[n] attempt to protect pastors from going against things that they believe are of a deeply held religious belief,” said the Galax Republican, according to GayRVA. “Unlike some of the things the governor is pointing out happening in other states, this is looking at the mere fact that a pastor who believes a marriage is between one man and one woman, and has doctrinal and religious beliefs within their religious organization, that they can and will be protect from criminal or civil prosecution and strengthens what we agree should be already constitutionally protected.”

McAuliffe vetoed SB 41 on March 30. The governor in a statement described the bill as “nothing more than an attempt to stigmatize.”

“This legislation is also bad for business and creates roadblocks as we try to build the new Virginia economy,” said McAuliffe. “Businesses and job creators do not want to locate or do business in states that appear more concerned with demonizing people than with creating a strong business climate.”

Family Foundation of Virginia President Victoria Cobb criticized McAuliffe for vetoing SB 41.
“It is unfortunate that Governor McAuliffe is so willing to discriminate against people of faith who simply disagree with the secular left’s sexual dogma,” said Cobb in a statement.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant earlier this month signed a sweeping religious freedom bill that sparked outrage among LGBT rights advocates in the Magnolia State and across the country. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on March 28 announced that he would veto a similar bill.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory last month signed House Bill 2, which prohibits transgender people from using public restrooms that are consistent with their gender identity and bans municipalities from enacting LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances.
The controversial law has sparked calls to boycott the Tarheel State, which borders Virginia. The British Foreign Office earlier this week issued an advisory that warns travelers about House Bill 2 and Mississippi’s religious freedom law.