A bill that adds sexual orientation and gender identity to Virginia's nondiscrimination law took effect on Wednesday.
The Democrat-controlled General Assembly earlier this year approved the Virginia Values Act. Governor Ralph Northam signed it into law on April 11.
Republicans, who lost control of the General Assembly last November, previously blocked efforts to ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the commonwealth. Virginia is the first state in the South to enact these protections.
"This victory shows the world that with grit, determination, heart and purpose, we can achieve the civil rights that LGBTQ people need and deserve," said Northam in a video for Global Pride, a 24-hour virtual Pride event that took place on Saturday.
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This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National LGBT Media Association.