South Charleston becomes 15th WV city to protect LGBTQ residents from discrimination

SOUTH CHARLESTON, West Virginia — Members of the South Charleston City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to become the 15th city in West Virginia to adopt a local fairness law.

Local fairness laws are nondiscrimination ordinances that protect LGBTQ residents from discrimination in employment, housing and public spaces. South Charleston was the second municipality to adopt these protections this year.

“This is a huge win for the people of South Charleston, who took a big step today to tell the world that all people are protected from discrimination here,” said Andrew Schneider, executive director of Fairness West Virginia. “Charleston became the first city to adopt a local fairness law more than a decade ago, and now their neighbors in South Charleston have joined them in standing for fairness. South Charleston is truly someplace special for all.”

Nearly 12,500 people live in the city of South Charleston, and it is the second city in Kanawha County to adopt a local fairness law. Jefferson County is the only other county in the state to have more than one municipality with a local fairness law.

“Our state lawmakers have failed year after year to adopt a statewide law to protect all LGBTQ people from discrimination,” Schneider said. “No statewide protections means landlords can continue to evict gay tenants and businesses can continue to refuse to serve them with no consequences. Until our leaders pass the Fairness Act, it’s up to cities like South Charleston to protect their communities.”

The Fairness Act is a bipartisan proposal to ensure all LGBTQ people across the state, no matter their zip code, are protected from discrimination. Even with the new protections in South Charleston, less than 215,000 people live somewhere with these protections.

If any community member is interested in bringing a local fairness law to their community, contact Fairness by emailing info@fairnessw.org to get started.

___________________________________________________

Please direct questions to Jake Jarvis, communications manager, at jake@fairnesswv.org.

Fairness West Virginia is the statewide civil rights advocacy organization dedicated to fair treatment and civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer West Virginians. Our mission is to ensure LGBTQ people can be open, honest and safe at home, at work, and in the community. We are open to everyone who believes in fundamental fairness.