W.Va. House bill bars excluding gays form juries - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

W.Va. House bill bars excluding gays form juries

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Gays and lesbians could no longer be excluded from serving on juries, under a bill passed by the West Virginia House Judiciary Committee.

The bill passed Wednesday would include sexual orientation among the factors that courts cannot use to exclude jurors. Currently courts cannot ban jurors based on race, color, religion, sex, nation of origin, economic status or disability.

Del. Stephen Skinner offered the sexual orientation amendment to a bill that concerned disqualifying jurors who have been convicted of felonies. The amendment passed 17-6 over Republican opposition.

Earlier this session Skinner sponsored a bill that would have barred housing and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. That bill stalled because of limited support.
Versions of that bill have passed the Senate in past years but stalled in the House.