Earlier this evening, in House Room 2 in Mr. Jefferson’s historic capitol, a House sub-committee defeated HB 1625, a major homosexual rights agenda item. The bill would have created sexual orientation as a protected class in housing discrimination laws by allowing local jurisdictions to carve out their own housing policies irrespective of the Commonwealth’s current code.
The House General Laws Sub-Committee on Housing, by a 4-3 vote, tabled the bill by Delegate David Englin (D-45, Alexandria), as amended. When he introduced the it before the committee Delegate Englin admitted previous incarnations of the bill were geared to sexual orientation. But he said his new bill was broader and protected no particular class of people.
Ironically, the broader aspects of the bill cost him votes from the liberal members of the sub-committee. Delegate Bob Hull (D-38, Falls Church) immediately brought up the difficulties and complexities this would present to the real estate industry in metropolitan areas composed of several jurisdictions. During the week, The Family Foundation lobbied members of the sub-committee on roughly the same lines, as well as the protected class argument. But the real unintended consequences — not imagined ones as our opponents conjure up — came when the representatives of the home building, apartment and real estate trade associations testified against the bill, citing the fact that it would create an unintended protected income class. In other words, homebuilders would have to accept HUD Section 8 housing vouchers and the like, and succumb to a host of prohibitive federal regulations.
Realizing that even his own caucus mates were deserting him, Delegate Englin said he would consider it “a friendly amendment to narrow the bill to sexual orientation,” at which point the liberals on the committee, who opposed the bill on commonsense economic and governance grounds, stumbled excitedly all over themselves to make the motion. Delegate Hull beat them to the punch, and Delegates David Bulova (D-37, Fairfax) and Rosalyn Dance (D-63, Petersburg) quickly shouted a seconding motion.
Speaking to the proposed amendment, Delegate John Cosgrove (R-78, Chesapeake) said, if approved, it would be the first time in Virginia history that sexual orientation would be made a protected class and therefore he could not support the bill. He motioned to table the bill and it was seconded, and the vote carried on a 4-3 party line voice vote. Joining Delegate Cosgrove were Delegates Bill Carrico (R-5, Independence), Bill Fralin (R-17, Roanoke) and sub-committee chairman, Glenn Oder (R-94, Newport News).
So many committee meetings take place in the drab General Assembly building, so when one is in the ambiance of 200-plus years of history, where so much that has affected our nation has taken place, one wonders what type of modern history may be made. Tonight, as Delegate Cosgrove pointed out, we are happy the wrong type of history was not made.