Ralph Northam on Civil Rights
Remove discriminatory language from Virginia laws
We convened a Commission to examine overtly discriminatory language that's still on our books. These include laws banning school integration, prohibiting black and white Virginians from living in the same neighborhoods, and prohibiting
people from getting married unless they're the same race. These words remain enshrined in law, even as many of the Acts have been overturned. It's time to remove these words from Virginia's books.
Source: 2020 Virginia State of the State address
, Jan 8, 2020
Outed for blackface photo in 1984 medical school yearbook
Northam has been under fire since Feb. 1, when a photo came to light from his 1984 medical school yearbook page that depicted one person in blackface and another in Ku Klux Klan robes. Northam initially took responsibility for the picture; at a news
conference a day later, he said he wasn't in the photo but admitted that he put shoe polish on his cheeks to imitate Michael Jackson in a dance contest later that same year.
Many state and national Democrats immediately called on Northam to resign.
Days later, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax was swept up in a scandal of his own, as two women accused him of sexually assault dating from 2000 and 2004 -- charges that Fairfax has vigorously denied. The accusations against Fairfax are "different but a
very difficult situation," Attorney General Mark Herring said. The women who say they were sexually assaulted by the lieutenant governor "deserve to be heard, they deserve respect," he said.
Source: Virginian-Pilot on 2021 Virginia Gubernatorial race
, Mar 5, 2019
Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment
If we are going to work together to ensure that every Virginian has equal opportunity for a successful life, that means enshrining equal rights for women and legal protections against discrimination in our laws.
This is not a partisan issue, and legislators from both parties have long championed this idea. Virginia can be the 38th and final state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment this year--it's time we do so.
Source: 2019 State of the State address to Virginia legislature
, Jan 9, 2019
Look harder for diverse candidates for leadership roles
This cabinet is led by women. And like this new General Assembly, it is also one of the most diverse in our history. This management team can be an example to our friends in the corporate world.
When people say, "we can't find enough women, or enough diverse candidates for leadership roles," I say--you're not looking hard enough.
Source: 2018 State of the State speech to Virginia legislature
, Jan 16, 2018
Backs marriage rights for same-sex couples
Northam publicly backs marriage rights for same-sex couples. The lieutenant governor in February cast the tie-breaking vote in the state Senate that allowed the passage of a bill that sought to ban discrimination against government employees because of
their sexual orientation or gender identity. The measure later died in a Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee. "Employment discrimination in any form is truly unacceptable," said Northam after voting in support of the anti-discrimination bill.
Source: Washington Blade on 2017 Virginia governor's race
, Nov 17, 2015
Tie-breaking vote against gay workplace discrimination
Dr. Northam promises to approach public service with the same passion and focus on results that he served with in the military and as a doctor. He believes that you reach across the aisle to get things done without ever compromising your core beliefs and
always by fighting for what's right.
"I am proud to support progress for all Virginians. During the past two legislative sessions, I cast tie-breaking votes to ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation in state government."
Source: 2016-17 Virginia gubernatorial campaign website
, Nov 1, 2015
Treat same-sex couples equally and fairly under the law
I cherish my marriage and my family over all else and I cannot imagine the government taking that right away from me. There is no excuse to discriminate against Virginians based on whom they love or to stigmatize the children of same-sex couples as
unequal because their parents cannot marry.
I recently met with a constituent who broke down in tears because his gay son's love would be treated as second-class. This inequality and callousness must end.
That is why I will continue to fight to ensure that all Virginians will be treated equally and fairly under the law.
The Supreme Court made the right decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
I believe that it unfairly discriminated against millions of Americans and the court was correct to rule it unconstitutional. As your Lt. Governor I will put a stop to the divisive agenda that has derailed Virginia from moving forward.
Source: 2016-17 VA gubernatorial campaign website NorthamForLG.com
, Nov 1, 2013
Page last updated: Jun 30, 2020