City Council stands up for equal rights

The city of Buckhannon is taking a stance in support of equal employment rights regardless of sexual orientation – and asking state leaders to do the same.

A resolution adopted at last week’s Buckhannon City Council meeting states, “The city strongly urges the West Virginia Legislature to enact legislation to amend the West Virginia Human Rights Act, the West Virginia Fair Housing Act, and any other state statutes to end discrimination against persons as attributed to their orientation.”

The resolution also states, “The city of Buckhannon currently prohibits discrimination in employment with the city regardless as to any person’s race, sex, age, national origin, creed, disability, familial status, or political affiliation.” It further states, “The city henceforth shall specifically further prohibit discrimination in employment with the city based upon any person’s sexual orientation.”

Councilman John Waltz said council members wanted to stand up for equal rights.

“The tone they’ve taken is that hard work doesn’t discriminate,” Waltz said Friday. “We should be evaluated in our work, by what kind of work we do. I would hope that all people would be treated equally that way. I think we were proud to try to take that up.”

Waltz said the resolution came forth after Fairness West Virginia and other organizations in the state asked municipalities for support through resolutions addressing orientation discrimination in the workplace.

He added that students and employees at West Virginia Wesleyan College approached him about the issue of orientation discrimination, asking for City Council’s support.

“Discrimination of any kind, be it based on sex, gender, religion, color, disability or anything like that, I don’t believe should be tolerated,” Waltz said.

Efforts to pass a statewide resolution with the West Virginia Legislature were defeated this year, Waltz said, but many people hope the topic can be brought up again and passed in the future.

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