Virginia House passes bill protecting opponents of same-sex marriage

The bill is now in the state Senate awaiting a vote.

People and businesses in Virginia may soon be protected in refusing to serve same-sex couples and transgender people, after the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill on Tuesday offering just such protection.

The Associated Press reported that the bill passed the House by a vote of 56-41, sending the bill to the Virginia Senate. The bill, sponsored by Repubican Delagate Todd Gilbert, would prevent the state from withholding grants, contracts and other services from such groups.

Opponents of the bill argued that it essentially allows discrimination and could damage the state's reputation.

If it were to become law, the bill would prevent the state from halting funding from religious schools that deny children of gay parents or pulling licenses of hotels that won't rent rooms to unwed couples, the Washington Post reported. It would also protect businesses who refuse to serve transgender people.

Del. Gilbert said Virginia has a responsiblity to protect opponents of same-sex marriage, who he told the AP are "constantly under attack by the shifting cultural winds."

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