Sunday, January 20, 2008

VA: several more favorable bills can come up in General Assembly

A number of more favorable bills related to gays and lesbians may come up in the Virginia General Assembly in the 2008 session. One of the most important is developing a database to store in a secured fashion advanced medical directives that could allow "powers of attorney" to named adults (including same sex partners not legally married), in accordance with the wishes of the stricken person. Another would allow employers to offer self-insured local government funds to include same-sex partner coverage. This is to deal with an arcane provision in Virginia law called the Dillon Rule. There is another bill to allow employers to extend (by salary deduction) group life insurance benefits (as beneficiaries) to same sex partners. It shocks people in other states that Virginia law would interfere with this. Still another bill would prohibit housing discrimination. It's not clear how this would affect individual homes that are rented. Generally, large complexes are much less likely to create a "problem" than small ones. (I never experienced any issues with getting leases or renewals in the 90s.)

The Washington Blade story (Jan. 18) is on the Local News page, is by Chris Johnson, is titled "Virginia gays on offense as lawmakers return: Gay Medical decision-making rights bill introduced," link here.

The main organization in Virginia is Equality Virginia, which has a dinner in Richmond in early April and many other events. The URL is this.

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