Va. Senate votes to prohibit conversion therapy, create transgender school policy, repeal gay marriage ban

A Valdosta man is facing charges after police say he stole several pride flags and a yard sign...
A Valdosta man is facing charges after police say he stole several pride flags and a yard sign over the weekend.(WALB)
Published: Jan. 21, 2020 at 9:51 PM EST
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A suite of LGBT-friendly legislation cleared the Virginia Senate on Tuesday.

Lawmakers voted to:

  • ban health professionals like counselors and psychologists from performing conversion therapy on anyone under age 18,
  • create uniform policies for transgender students attending public schools,
  • make it easier for transgender people to change the gender on their birth certificates and
  • remove language from the state code banning gay marriage.

The gay marriage ban has already been invalidated by a 2015 Supreme Court ruling and advocates said the state code should reflect that.

“Right now same-gender marriage is legal in Virginia as it is throughout the country, and the code of Virginia needs to have legal ambiguity removed,” said Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, who sponsored the measure and is the first openly gay person elected to the Virginia General Assembly.

The measure passed 25-13, with only Republican members opposing. Sen. Lionel Spruill, D-Chesapeake, was present but did not cast votes on any of the measures.

The ban on conversion therapy saw the most opposition among Republicans, with 18 members opposing and one, Sen. Jill Vogel, not voting.


The Virginia Mercury is a new, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.

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