Message from Governor Terence R. McAuliffe
I am pleased to congratulate the talented individuals responsible for turning Q Virginia Magazine from a dream into a reality. This magazine will offer an important venue for members of the LGBT community to be heard and to hear from others about issues that are important to all Virginians.
When I ran for Governor, I founded my campaign on a vision for Virginia where everyone has a shot at success regardless of their race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. And I am honored to say that we proved that Virginians are ready to elect leaders who put those values front and center.
Now those values are more important than ever. Federal defense cuts and congressional dysfunction are hampering our economic growth and have raised the real need to work together to build a new Virginia economy.
Building that new economy means working together today to attract the jobs of tomorrow in industries like biosciences, cybersecurity and data analytics. It means funding key economic development projects and continuing our efforts to revamp Virginia's workforce training program. And it means making sure ours is a Commonwealth that is open and welcoming to all job creators, no matter their race, no matter their gender and no matter whom they love.
I came to office with a commitment to stand up for LGBT Virginians and I am proud to say we have honored that. My first act as Governor was to sign Executive Order #1, protecting state employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. That order was the first in Virginia history to include transgendered Virginians in the group protected from workplace discrimination. More than 90% of Fortune 500 Companies have nondiscrimination policies that protect LGBT workers. I was proud to put Virginia on the record as a state that shares those values.
Since then we have made even greater strides when it comes to equality. After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Virginia's unconstitutional ban on same-sex marriage, I was proud to become one of the first governors in American history to perform a wedding for a loving same-sex couple. We also made history by declaring that the Virginia Department of Social Services will now permit same-sex couples to offer a child an adoptive home. Finally, my administration became the first in Virginia history to place an emphasis on making our Commonwealth an attractive tourist destination for LGBT travelers.
These steps are not only the right thing to do; they are good for our economy. Virginia gains nothing by excluding or demonizing members of the LGBT community. And when we are welcoming to everyone, we create opportunities to bring new businesses here, to generate economic activity and to build more diverse and vibrant communities across the Commonwealth.
There is no doubt that there is much work yet to be done - but I am proud to be Governor of a state that is making significant progress on equality and one that would give rise to a magazine like Q Virginia. Congratulations to the entire Q Virginia team and thank you to the members of the LGBT community across this Commonwealth who are working every day to make Virginia the best place on Earth to live, work and raise a family.