New Delegate Stephen Skinner talks LGBT issues - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

New Delegate Stephen Skinner talks LGBT issues

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Delegate-elect Stephen Skinner, D-Jefferson, didn't draw a connection between the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered or LGBT agenda and his political campaign.

Mainly, he says, because the LGBT agenda is the same as anybody else's.

Skinner spoke with The Huffington Post Nov. 8 via web chat as part of a panel discussing the gains the LGBT community made in Nov. 6's election.

Skinner, former president of Fairness West Virginia, will be the first openly gay member of the West Virginia Legislature, but he said his sexual orientation did not come up during his campaign.

"The reality is the campaign was just about what any state legislative race should be about: local issues and who has the best ideas for taking the state forward," Skinner said during his interview with The Huffington Post. "Even though I'm obviously working on these particular issues, the thought that at the last minute, sexual orientation would creep into it was always there, but I was pleasantly surprised there was minimal discussion about it."

Skinner said a lot of people would be surprised to find out he's openly gay, even though a simple Internet search would show his long history of LGBT advocacy.

Skinner said the West Virginia Legislature has had many members who are allies for the LGBT community.

"I think everybody expects me to continue to work hard on the issues I have," he said. "Also I don't want anybody to misunderstand that my focus, like every other LGBT elected official has got to be in serving their constituents.

"To suggest otherwise would be to compartmentalize us."

Skinner said he realizes he has an obligation, not just to the people in his district, but also to the entire population of West Virginia.