CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – West Virginia Senate President, Mitch Carmichael, sat down with leaders in the LGBTQ community as they discussed the legislation that would put an end to discrimination in the workplace and in access to housing at the West Virginia State Capitol on Tuesday, December 3, 2019.
LGBTQ community leaders and allies, along with Fairness WV spoke about how their experiences have moved them to support equality and anti-discrimination legislation for LGBTQ people.
“I think it’s very promising and Senate President Carmichael is right this is a hard fight and this is something that deserves our legislatures attention,” says Beckley Human Rights Commission, Danielle Stewart.
It is legal in most places in West Virginia to fire, evict or deny someone service at a place of business just because they are a member of the LGBTQ community, the Fairness Act is designed to change that.
If West Virginia passes the Fairness Act in 2020 it will become the 21st state to pass comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people.
“We are going to thoughtfully, and credibly review this legislation and get the pulse of the people on this and I think that is very important as we grapple, as Dan said, as we grapple with this issue,” says Senate President Mitch Carmichael, (R-Jackson).
Carmichael says the bill may need to change, specifically the language, but until changes happen Delegate Jim Butler, (R-Mason), won’t be voting yes.
“they’re saying this is a fairness act but actually it’s not fairness at all, what this does is it gives special protections to a specific group of people at the expense of, you know, employers or someone who is renting a house because this includes housing issues, so this put’s them at jeopardy for being sued for something and they might not even know why they are being sued,” says Del. Butler.
Right now twelve West Virginia communities have banned this type of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.