The Senate has passed a measure to prohibit state government from discriminating against employees because of their sexual orientation.
The bill passed out of the Senate on a 24-16 vote Friday. The move was applauded by Equality Virginia, a gay-rights organization. U.S. Sen. and former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner also commended the move.
The proposal has won Senate approval in previous years but has never made it through the Republican-controlled House of Delegates.
Previous efforts were sparked by Gov. Bob McDonnell, when he omitted gays from a 2010 executive order banning workplace discrimination. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli later declared that there is no legal ground for protecting gays from discrimination until the General Assembly enacts such a law.
McDonnell later said he would not tolerate any discrimination in state government.