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Keyser City Council Passes ‘Fairness Law,’ 14th City To Do So

Keyser City Council
Keyser City Council Facebook Page
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The Keyser City Council meets on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2020

The Keyser City Council voted Wednesday night to pass a local ordinance prohibiting discrimination in the workplace, housing and public places. The law outlines protections for all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender.

“This is a huge win for the people of Keyser,” said Andrew Schneider, the executive director of Fairness West Virginia, an advocacy group for gay and transgender West Virginians.

Keyser is now the fourteenth West Virginia city and the fifth in the Eastern Panhandle to adopt a Fairness Law, prohibiting discrimination against the state’s LGBTQ community.

Fairness Laws Map
Fairness West Virginia
A map of the West Virginia cities with fairness laws in effect.

One in nine West Virginians live in a city with non-discrimination laws, according to Fairness West Virginia.

“It’s important for cities like Keyser to adopt local fairness laws because our state still has no state-wide law to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination,” said Schneider. “That means landlords can evict gay tenants, and businesses can refuse to serve them with no consequences. Until our leaders pass the Fairness Act, it’s up to cities like Keyser to protect their community.”

The Fairness Act is the latest iteration of a bill creating state-wide protections for sexual orientation and gender. Similar bills have been introduced in almost every legislative session since 2001, but all have failed.

Schneider said the group plans to get the bill reintroduced during the upcoming 2021 legislative session.

 

Governor Jim Justice said during last year’s gubernatorial debate he would sign the bill if it reached his desk.


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