Buckhannon City Council Greenlights LGBTQ Discrimination

Upshur County Courthouse –
Buckhannon, West Virginia, USA

Last night, members of Buckhannon City Council shamefully sided with fearmongers and those peddling dangerous misinformation as they narrowly voted down an ordinance to protect members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination.

We want to say thank you to Mayor David McCauley, Councilman CJ Rylands, and Councilwoman Mary Albaugh, who voted for making Buckhannon a truly inclusive community.

In voting “No,” council members Robbie Skinner, Colin Reger, David Thomas, and Pamela Cuppari sided with speakers who offensively likened the LGBTQ community to child molesters, thieves, and drunk drivers. They sided with those making the ridiculous claim that the LGBTQ movement is a front for a war on religious people.

Perhaps most importantly, they sided with those who openly said they should have the right to fire or evict someone for being LGBT.

While this result is deeply disappointing and hurtful, no one ever said that the road to full equality and inclusion in West Virginia would be a smooth one without any bumps in the road. With that said, we believe the fear that council members succumbed to tonight does not represent the true wishes of our state.

That belief is reflected in the determination of the Republican mayor of Buckhannon to bring this nondiscrimination bill up for a vote.

It’s reflected in the voters of Fairmont overwhelmingly approving their nondiscrimination ordinance at the ballot box last November.

It’s reflected in voters firing notoriously anti-gay Senator Robert Karnes in this very Senate district and voting into office openly gay delegate Cody Thompson.

And most importantly of all, it’s reflected in the 11 municipalities that have adopted these ordinances in the last 12 years, most of which were approved in the last four years.

Make no mistake. Landlords and employers in Buckhannon who wish to discriminate against people for their sexual orientation or gender identity just got the green light from city council.

This shows yet again why the state Legislature needs to act to protect ALL West Virginians from discrimination and ensure that all who call our state home are truly receiving equal protection under the law.