Monday, February 21, 2011

Gay coal miner becomes poster boy
for West Virginia anti-discrimination initiatives

(Video from a different source, WCHS-TV, is here.)

Sam Hall is a gay West Virginia coal miner suing Spartan Mining Co., a subsidiary of Massey Energy Co, and its management for maintaining an oppressive and hostile work environment, and making no effort to resolve physical threats based on his sexual preference.

Today he became the emblem of efforts by two Democratic gubernatorial West Virginia rivals for the passage of two bills (SB226 and HB2045) which would protect gay West Virginians from workplace and public accommodation discrimination.
Sam Hall told chanting supporters outside the Senate chamber he was victimized by verbal abuse, physical threats, vandalism and harassing messages spray-painted on his belongings at two Massey Energy mines in Kanawha County.
     Acting Senate President Jeffrey Kessler, D-Marshall, blasted discrimination against homosexuals in an emotion-charged speech before chanting members of West Virginia Fairness.
     ...Kessler held up a copy of the Constitution and said it applies to all.
     “It is high time in this state that no one can be denied the right to work or where they live based upon their gender, their age, the color of their skin, the god they love or the person they love,” he said.
     ...Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, took a shot at Christian groups opposed to expanding the Human Rights Act to embrace homosexuality.
     She said the Bible has been used to justify slavery, control over women by their husbands, even to the point of beating them, and discrimination.

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