RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe today announced that, following a thorough legal review of the case, he will commute the death sentence of Ivan Teleguz to life imprisonment without parole. Teleguz’s request for a pardon will be denied. Teleguz was convicted in the murder-for-hire of Stephanie Yvonne Sipe in July 2001. He was scheduled to be executed on April 25.
Announcing his decision at the Virginia State Capitol today, Governor McAuliffe delivered the following statement (as prepared):
Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us. I am joined today by my Secretary of Public Safety, Brian Moran, and my Counsel, Carlos Hopkins, both of whom have devoted countles
Today the Virginia passed a bill that will make it harder for LGBT families to adopt or become foster parents. SB 349 passed by a 22-18 margin, allowing organizations that receive state money to use those dollars to discriminate against loving LGBT people seeking to provide a safe and happy home to children. If this bill becomes law, it will codify the notion that any child placement agency with “written moral objections” can deny equality.
The well being of children should be our top priority. That is why, yesterday, I offered an amendment to SB349 that would have barred LGBT foster children from being sent to homes that would place these children in reparative therapy. We have seen too many examples of this awful practice, telling children that who they are is not OK– leading to horrible psychological effects– the consequences of which have led some children to take their lives. A disproportionate number of the children in the foster care system are either LGBT or questioning their orientation. Foster children are under the protection of the state, and no child under our protection should ever be sent to a home where they are subjected to reparative therapy. Sadly, all Republicans voted against this vital protection.
In the same week that a federal court recognized that Californians cannot deny marriage equality, we have taken a dramatic step backward in Virginia. I will do my best to remind my colleagues of the loving environments that are provided by LGBT families. Despite today’s setback in the fight for equality, I pledge to continue to do all that I can to fight for the equal treatment of all Virginians.