Multiple Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills Are Gaining Momentum In The Legislature

Slightly edited updated from Andrew Schneider, Executive Director – Fairness West Virginia:

       Multiple anti-LGBTQ+ bills are gaining momentum in the Legislature, and we could really use your support to fight back against these proposals. So let’s dig in to what’s happening.

HB 5243 — Women’s Fake Bill of Rights

       House Bill 5243, the so-called “Women’s Bill of Rights” [has passed the House of Delegates (read more here and here)]. 

       As you know, Women across West Virginia have been furious that our lawmakers are running a “Women’s Bill of Rights” with absolutely no new rights whatsoever. Instead of any real protections, women have been told to settle for a culture wars bill that attacks transgender people. It seems that delegates realized they should include at least one new right in the bill. Delegates amended the bill late last week, so now, women will have the right to not be sexually abused by their husbands.

       We’re glad that delegates amended the bill to strike the marital exception from state code, but that doesn’t need to happen at the expense of transgender West Virginians. That should have been taken out of state code years ago.

SB 515 — Forced Outing & “Don’t Say Gay or Trans”

       [On Tuesday], members of the Senate Education Committee approved a bill that would force educators to out their transgender students without their permission. As I’ve already shared with you, this bill could create a life-threatening situation for transgender students who live in unsupportive homes. Teachers would be forced to out their students even if they have strong reason to believe that doing so would result in the student experiencing physical or emotional abuse at home.

       But the bill is cleverly designed to mimic the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” law adopted by the state of Florida under Gov. Ron DeSantis’ leadership. It seeks to eliminate any mention of LGBTQ+ people from public schools, and we’ve already seen how bad a law like that can be.

       Florida’s new law resulted in sweeping censorship, book banning, rainbow Safe Space stickers being peeled from classroom windows, districts refusing to recognize LGBTQ+ History Month, and LGBTQ families preparing to leave the state altogether.

       Now that this bill passed Senate Education, it will head to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Can you take 2 minutes to email the members of that committee and tell them to oppose SB 515?


HB 4233 — Banning Non-Binary From Birth Certificates

       Last week, members of the House of Delegates voted to approve House Bill 4233. This bill bans “non-binary” from being listed on a child’s birth certificate. Although current rules already don’t allow that to be listed on birth certificates, there’s absolutely no reason to support this bill.

       Trans people need accurate and consistent IDs to open bank accounts, start new jobs, enroll in school and travel. But that process is already complicated and sometimes prohibitively expensive. All Mountaineers, regardless of how they identify, should be welcomed and accepted in our state. And all of us deserve IDs that reflect who we really are.

       HB 4233 is now heading to the Senate for consideration. If you click the button below, you’ll be able to email Senators quickly and tell them to oppose this bill. Then, you can encourage them to support House Bill 5622, a bill that would allow “X” to be listed on most forms of ID, instead of only “M” or “F.”


HB 4654 — Criminalizing Librarians

       [On Monday], the House Judiciary Committee approved House Bill 4654. You can read more about what we’ve already said about this bill here, or you can read a fantastic column about the bill by our friends at the ACLU of West Virginia here. Essentially, this bill is criminalizing librarians for the books they have on their shelves.

       Although this bill won’t technically ban LGBTQ+ content from our libraries, that’s what it was designed to do. It was designed to scare local librarians and educators from having books about LGBTQ+ people. The bill’s lead sponsor, Del. Brandon Steele, went on a bizarre and unhinged rant linking librarians to pedophilia during the committee meeting.

       Megan Tarbett, the president of the West Virginia Library Association told lawmakers that this bill would have a chilling effect on free speech. “What will most likely happen is that librarians especially at our smallest libraries will begin to self censor what they order where they may have ordered the book in the past,” she said.

       Click the button below to email delegates now and tell them to oppose HB 4654 and protect our libraries!


Send this to a friend