RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today signed new laws that repeal racist and discriminatory language from Virginia’s Acts of Assembly, give localities the ability to remove or alter Confederate monuments in their communities, and begin the process of replacing Virginia’s statue of Confederal General Robert E. Lee in the United States Capitol.
Northam also signed new laws to strike discriminatory language from Virginia’s Acts of Assembly. In June 2019, Governor Northam established the Commission to Examine Racial Inequity in Virginia Law, which subsequently identified 98 instances of overtly discriminatory language still on the Commonwealth’s books. This includes laws that banned interracial marriage, blocked school integration, and prohibited black and white Virginians from living in the same neighborhoods. While many of these Acts of Assembly have been overturned by court decisions or subsequent legislation, they had remained enshrined in law.
Northam has also signed the Virginia Values Act, making Virginia the first state in the South to enact comprehensive protections for the LGBTQ community against discrimination in housing, employment, public spaces, and credit applications. The new law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, public and private employment, public accommodations, and access to credit. The legislation also extends important protections to Virginians on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, and status as a veteran.