Metro Weekly

Equality Virginia PAC makes first round of endorsements for November election

Endorsements based on candidates' explicit support for nondiscrimination protections

James Parrish of Equality Virginia Photo by Todd Franson

James Parrish of Equality Virginia – Photo by Todd Franson

Equality Virginia’s Political Action Committee, EVPAC, has announced its first round of House endorsements for November’s election.

EVPAC is endorsing a number of incumbent Democrats who have demonstrated support for LGBTQ equality measures. EVPAC previously issued individual endorsements of Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the Democratic nominee for governor, incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring, and transgender candidate Danica Roem, who is running against the fiercely anti-LGBTQ Del. Bob Marshall in a Manassas-area district.

“Pro-equality leadership is necessary to end discrimination,” James Parrish, EVPAC’s executive director, said in a statement. “The majority of Virginians support nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender people, but the votes cast in our House of Delegates don’t reflect that.

“To ensure Virginia keeps the momentum for full equality moving forward we need strong leaders like these incumbents we are endorsing today.”

EVPAC endorsed 17 of 34 Democratic incumbents, most of whom represent Democratic-leaning seats in the Northern Virginia area, based on the candidates’ answers to EVPAC’s candidate questionnaire.

The questionnaire’s chief focus asks about three legislative priorities for LGBTQ advocates in the commonwealth: prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ public employees, as well as anti-LGBTQ housing discrimination, and discrimination in public accommodations.

The questionnaire also asks, in a separate section, about candidates’ support for a broader employment nondiscrimination law (similar to those that have passed in more liberal-leaning states), their support for banning conversion therapy on minors, and removing the Marshall-Newman Amendment from the state’s constitution.

It also tries to gauge their support for allowing school districts to craft their own student and employee nondiscrimination policies, and their opposition to so-called “religious freedom” legislation that would allow people to refuse goods and services to LGBTQ people because of personal religious or moral beliefs opposing homosexuality.

Besides Roem, there are six other LGBTQ Democrats running as party nominees in November. Of those, only incumbents Del. Mark Sickles (D-Huntington) and Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) have thus far earned endorsements for the general election.

The list of endorsees is as follows:

Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke)

Del. Kathleen Murphy (D-McLean)

Del. David Bulova (D-Fairfax City)

Del. Kaye Kory (D-Falls Church)

Del. Vivian Watts (D-Annandale)

Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Springfield)

Del. Mark Sickles (D-Huntington)

Del. Paul Krizek (D-Mount Vernon)

Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria)

Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington)

Del. Rip Sullivan (D-McLean)

Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington)

Del. Marcus Simon (D-Falls Church)

Del. Betsy Carr (D-Richmond)

Del. Steve Heretick (D-Portsmouth)

Del. Jennifer Boysko (D-Herndon)

Del. John Bell (D-Sterling)

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com