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West Virginia

W.Va. Senate to consider workplace non-discrimination bill

Monday, February 3, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill introduced in the West Virginia Senate would make it unlawful for employers and landlords to discriminate against individuals based on their sexual orientation.

W.Va. state capitol in Charleston.

W.Va. state capitol in Charleston.

Senate President Jeff Kessler, the sponsor, introduced similar bills in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The bills passed the Senate each year but stalled in the House of Delegates.

The West Virginia Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment and housing based on race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, blindness or disability.

Kessler said Monday that not having a non-discrimination act for gays and lesbians creates a “poor national image of our state” and “makes us a lot less attractive to folks who want to live here, work here and become gainfully employed here.”

The bill is scheduled to be discussed in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. Kessler said he isn’t sure what support the bill will get during this year’s session.

“People should not be fearful of losing their job or being evicted from their house, not based on the quality of their work or if they pay their rent on time, but because of who they love at night,” Kessler said.

He said allowing some West Virginians to be prevented from having a job or to have a fair selection of housing because of their sexual orientation “is a type of mentality that holds us down.”

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8 more reader comments:

  1. Can they also fix the water and fire the polluters while they are giving people their rights? If they’d have been doing their damn jobs neither of these things would be problems right now! :(

    Posted on Monday, February 3, 2014 at 10:07pm
  2. Banjo country…

    Posted on Monday, February 3, 2014 at 10:21pm
  3. Get it done why do equal rights have to be considered like what to eat

    Posted on Monday, February 3, 2014 at 10:23pm
  4. Maybe it will go through this year. Then it will show other backwards states that W Va is a place for today and the future.

    Posted on Monday, February 3, 2014 at 10:27pm
  5. FINALLY! I’m SICK of not being able to have a job in this damn state. THANK YOU SENATOR COOKMAN!!!

    Posted on Monday, February 3, 2014 at 10:28pm
  6. Time to join the 21st Century!!!

    Posted on Monday, February 3, 2014 at 11:24pm
  7. Democrats now have a majority in the House of Delegates. Look for this bill to pass both houses of the WV legislature this year. The Mountain State will be the first state to pass a nondiscrimination law covering sexual orientation (and gender identity) since Delaware in 2009.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:24am

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 2:10pm