Governor of Virginia: I will keep blocking anti-LGBT bills

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The Governor of Virginia says he plans to keep blocking anti-LGBT bills, in spite of attempts of state lawmakers to pass them.

Pro-LGBT Democrat Terry McAuliffe is in the last year of his term as Governor of Virginia, but is facing opposition from conservative Republicans who hold a vast majority in the House of Delegates and a majority in the Senate.

This week, a bill that would permit discrimination against same-sex couples based on religion was greenlit by both chambers.

But McAuliffe, who has already vetoed 71 GOP bills during his two years as governor, is standing resolute and has pledged to continue to block anti-LGBT legislation.

He said: “They’ve slipped a few bills through, but they’re not going to slip through the Governor’s office. I’m going to veto them.

“It’s not about doing the most vetoes of any governor in Virginia history.

“We’re stopping people from doing things that discriminate against people’s basic rights.”

Earlier this year McAuliffe infuriated his rivals and won praise from LGBT groups by signing an executive order protecting the rights of LGBT people in public services.

“While anti-equality politicians are introducing legislation targeting LGBTQ people, Governor McAuliffe is standing up against discrimination and sending a clear message that Virginia is open for business and welcoming to all,” said JoDee Winterhof, the Human Rights Campaign’s Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs.

“Governor McAuliffe is a champion for equality and continues to lead the way forward in the fight to ensure all Virginians are treated equally with dignity and respect, regardless of who they are or whom they love.”

His administration has also begun marketing the state as a gay tourist destination.

Governor McAuliffe last year announced a range of new LGBT tourism efforts via his LGBT Tourism Task Force – highligting a range of LGBT-friendly destinations across his state, and even launching a rainbow variant of the state tourism body’s ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ logo.