(Editor’s note: The following is written in response to a column submitted earlier this week by Delegate Jim Butler on the proposed “Fairness Act” legislation.)
I would like to take this occasion to deliver a refutation of your fear-based op-ed that states that defending members of the LGBTQ+ community puts “everyone in jeopardy.”
You stated that bills like this would provide special protections for certain people. You seemingly don’t have problems with sponsorship of legislation protecting “certain people.” You mentioned proudly in your article that you supported House Bill 4012; the bill that literally gave certain people “special protections” allowing them to be protected if they decided to discriminate against people who may be different by denying services. It would seem that you are only concerned about protecting those who would typically vote for you – which isn’t the job of an elected official. You have many members of the LGBTQ+ community within your constituency and the article you provided to the Point Pleasant Register was a visual representation of your indifference for their well-being.
More protection for minorities does not mean less protection for you (it isn’t a cake). We can protect EVERYONE.
If a West Virginia organization doesn’t want to be sued for being discriminatory, all they have to do is not discriminate. Using the correct pronouns to recognize someone in the way they wish to be recognized will not cause anyone physical pain – I’ve done it. Being “politically correct” isn’t that difficult, either; just don’t say hurtful things. Besides, with all of the issues impacting West Virginia, this is the one about which you are most concerned? Bigotry isn’t a part of the West Virginia character. Your suggesting otherwise is disappointing.