Fairness for Parkersburg: I SUPPORT the Parkersburg Non-Discrimination Ordinance

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Dear Council Members,

     I SUPPORT the passage of the proposed Parkersburg Non-Discrimination Ordinance as it is currently written to add sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status and genetic information to the existing list of protected groups covered by the West Virginia Human Right Act. All Parkersburg city residents and visitors should be able to live, work, and visit free from discriminatory treatment. 

     I understand that the members of the previously mentioned groups currently have no protections from being fired, evicted or denied basic public accommodations just for being who they are. Furthermore I understand that "Places of Public Accommodations" is a legal term as defined by Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawing discrimination in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accommodations defined by law as engaging in commerce, and that the definition provides an exemption for private clubs or other establishments not in fact open to the public including churches. To argue that this definition means anything otherwise would be contrary to established and existing law.

       I also do not believe in the Bathroom Predator Myth being perpetuated by those opposing this ordinance. West Virginia does not currently have any laws defining restroom usage. As such transgender people in West Virginia have always been free to use the rest facilities corresponding to their gender identity. This ordinance will in no way change that and it is not a "Bathroom Bill".

      Failing to pass this ordinance sends the wrong message to citizens, visitors, businesses, and prospective employers and employees. Nationally, 96% of Fortune 500 companies have LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination employment policies. Locally, Camden Clark Hospital, HighMark BCBS West Virginia, People's Bank, Huntington Bank, WVUP, Walmart, McDonalds just to name a few, all have LGBT inclusive non-discrimination employment policies. Major companies are aware that to recruit and retain the best and brightest people, they must have an inclusive workplace environment in communities which promote a high quality of living. Not passing this ordinance sends a message to businesses and difficult-to-attract millennial workers that Parkersburg is not interested in moving forward.

      It is time for Parkersburg to join the ten other cities and towns in West Virginia that have already passed inclusive non-discrimination ordinances like the one before you today. I urge you to vote Yes on the Parkersburg Non-Discrimination Ordinance to send the message that Parkersburg is No Place for Hate.