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NBC 29 WVIR: VA General Assembly to Hear Bills on LGBTQ Discrimination Print

Created:  Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Democrats and gay rights activists say it's time for Virginia to begin treating people the same, regardless of sexual orientation.

More than 20 bills entered this General Assembly session would strike down opportunities for discrimination.

Now that same-sex marriage is allowed in the commonwealth, lawmakers are asking for all legal references to take out gender-specific terms so that those partnerships are recognized.

Another bill would ban licensed professionals from practicing the controversial Conversion therapy - also known as reparative therapy - on children. One of the purposes of Conversion therapy is to alter a person's sexual orientation to make them heterosexual.

"A lot of healing, but I cannot deal with intimacy,” said Mathew Shurka, who underwent Conversion therapy. “I haven't been in a relationship since I was 20, 21-years-old. Self-loathing, shaming. Continuing my life today, that's something I deal with every day."

Forty-seventh District Delegate Patrick Hope (D), who is sponsoring the bill in the House, says treating homosexuality as a sin or mental illness just doesn't line up with medical practice.