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W.Va. Senate leader: ‘No way’ we’re considering LGBT discrimination bill

W.Va. Senate leader: ‘No way’ we’re considering LGBT discrimination bill

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael says there’s “no way” his chamber will consider a proposal to nullify local ordinances that protect LGBT people from housing and employment discrimination.

West-VirginiaThe Jackson County Republican made the remarks Thursday to the Associated Press.

The West Virginia Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act would prohibit any local nondiscrimination ordinances stricter than state law. West Virginia doesn’t include housing and employment protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

A House committee cleared the bill Wednesday.

The bill would nullify LGBT non-discrimination ordinances already enacted in Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown, Buckhannon and Thurmond.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Del. Lynne Arvon, said the state’s non-discrimination laws should be uniform and predictable, but Democratic Del. Stephen Skinner, the state’s only openly gay state lawmaker, called it “legislative gay bashing.”

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The House had scheduled a public hearing on the bill Friday, but has since been recommitted to the house government organization committee.

Carmichael said Thursday he would not run the bill through the Senate even if it passed the full House of Delegates.

“We have no appetite for any type of a bill that discriminates, provides prejudice or preferences to any type of class in West Virginia,” he said.

The West Virginia measure is nearly identical to one passed in the Arkansas legislature last week, and which became law without the governor’s signature when he refused to sign or veto the bill.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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