Town of Monongah becomes 17th community in WV to ban LGBTQ discrimination
MONONGAH, West Virginia — Members of the Monongah Town Council voted unanimously Monday night to become the 17th community 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. Monongah was the second municipality in the state to adopt these protections in 2022, with the town of Bolivar adopting one in April.
“Monongah is a welcoming community, and tonight’s vote proves that to the rest of the world,” said Andrew Schneider, executive director of Fairness West Virginia. “Monongah’s leaders stepped up tonight to protect their LGBTQ friends and neighbors, and they proved yet again that no community is too small to welcome everyone.”
Monongah, a community of about 1,000 people, is the first municipality in Marion County to adopt these protections. The city of Fairmont adopted a resolution opposing LGBTQ discrimination in 2017, but that resolution had no enforcement mechanism.
“I’m proud that our community took this step to affirm what I already knew, that Monongah is a place where everyone is welcome,” said Monongah Mayor JohnBoy Palmer. “I’m proud that our town council took this important step, and I look forward to the day our state Legislature follows us.”
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 Monongah, less than 225,000 people live somewhere with these protections. That’s less than 13 percent of the nearly 1.8 million West Virginia residents.
“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 little to no consequences. Until our state lawmakers pass the Fairness Act, it’s up to cities and towns like Monongah to protect their communities.”
In 2021, Fairness WV helped two communities adopt local fairness laws. The city of Keyser became the 14th community to adopt such a law in January of 2021, and the city of South Charleston followed six months later.
If any community member is interested in bringing a local fairness law to their community, contact Fairness by emailing email@example.com to get started.
Please direct questions and interview requests to Jack Jarvis, Communications Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fairness West Virginia is the statewide civil rights advocacy organization dedicated to fair treatment and civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender 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.