Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Lewisburg, WVA provides a microcosm for LGBT non-discrimination

From WVVA video
200 people showed up for a public hearing last night as the quest for non-discrimination in public accommodations, housing and employment is playing out in Lewisburg, WVA. About 70 of those were admitted to city hall which was at full capacity. West Virginia provides no protection for LGBT citizens. Six municipalities in the state have non-discrimination laws.

Lewisburg occupies less than four square miles of West Virginia real estate (including a rather impressive sinkhole). According to the 2010 census there are 3,830 people in 1,892 households who are part of 989 families in the city. The registered electorate is 2,895 (52% D, 28% R).

The local NBC affiliate, sampled some opinion:
From a church perspective, this is just the right thing to do.
Betsy Walker, Episcopal Priest
I have about 50 people on my staff and I feel that it's important to protect each and every one of them.
Sparrow Hoffman, business owner and resident
According to wvva.com, “people opposed to the ordinance fear that public accommodations for LGBT members could possibly give transgender people access to both bathroom facilities.” Here we go again:
Where's the safety of my wife, my granddaughters, my daughters, you know, if that happens.
Baptist pastor Fred Fryer
Fryer's church is not in Lewisburg but the hearing attracted concerned citizens from neighboring communities:
Well, if it starts here, it will go there.
Pastor Youel Altizer
Graystone Baptist church in Fairlea
And, from the professional Christianist:
It rips communities apart every time city council tries to force this on a community.
Allen Whitt
President, Family Policy Council of West Virginia
With respect to Mr. Whitt, selective Christian honesty at work. It is not the proposed policy that causes turmoil. Rather it is the parade of horribles – concocted by Whitt and his ilk – that stirs up the citizens. The pastors seem indifferent to the fact that none of these things ever really happen. Men do not gratuitously change gender identity to exploit access to public facilities. Pastor Fryer's daughters and granddaughters (see above) are not in peril.

The city council voted to move forward. A public hearing including comments will be held on January 19.

Kudos, by the way, to Fairness West Virginia. A non-discrimination law protecting just sexual orientation would be far easier to accomplish. FWV is standing strong the for minority of the minority in the LGBT community.

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