Fairness WV lobbies Legislature for non-discrimination bill - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Fairness WV lobbies Legislature for non-discrimination bill

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Currently in West Virginia, an employer can fire a worker simply because of sexual orientation.

But Fairness WV is trying to change that.

The civil rights advocacy group is dedicated to the fair treatment of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered persons. About 100 people attended a rally March 5 at the state capitol to lobby members of the West Virginia Legislature in support of the Employment and Housing Non-Discrimination Act, which will soon be introduced in both houses of the Legislature.

Dr. Coy Flowers is board president of Fairness WV. He said more than 100 businesses, faith groups and organizations have joined a coalition that publicly supports EHNDA.

"All West Virginians deserve to be treated fairly by the laws of their own state," Flowers said. "This is a common sense update to existing law. We are so proud of the strong support from thousands of West Virginians for this legislation."

Flowers noted that of the state's top 30 private employers, 26 already have instituted policies that ban the discrimination of employees based on sexual orientation.

"Appalachian Power, Frontier, CAMC, Covenant House, Create West Virginia are just a cross section of our coalition members who believe that the more than 57,000 LGBT West Virginians are valued members of the West Virginia work force," Flowers said.

Other speakers at the rally included Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, Covenant House Executive Director Ellen Allen and West Virginia American Water External Affairs Manager Laura Jordan.