WHEELING - City resident Larry Tighe believes Wheeling officials discriminate against citizens because of their sexual orientation, so he wants the city's Human Rights Commission to take action.
During the commission's Monday meeting, Tighe sought the support of commissioners in his efforts to convince City Council to include protections for sexual orientation in the Wheeling human rights ordinance.
According to section 169.03 of the city code, the city aims to eliminate discrimination in the "sale, purchase, lease, rental or financing of real property, by virtue of race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, blindness, handicap or familial status."
Says Wheeling should make sexual orientation a protected class
But Tighe wants specific protection based upon one's sexual orientation.
"Gay people here live in fear of losing their jobs and losing their apartments," he told commissioners.
Tighe showcased an article published in a 1988 edition of The Intelligencer that explained how he approached the commission regarding the sexual orientation matter at that time.
THE NEXT MEETING
The Wheeling Human Rights Commission will next meet at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Courthouse Annex, 51 16th St.
"I hope attitudes in Wheeling are more enlightened than they were 20 years ago," he said.
Tighe said gays and lesbians are discriminated against more than any other minority group in the United States.
"I would like this group to make a recommendation to City Council that the human rights ordinance include protections for sexual orientation," he said.
After listening to Tighe's comments, commissioners told him they would take his words under advisement. But this was not sufficient for Tighe.
"I want this group to vote on this and make the recommendation to City Council," he told them.
But commissioner George Blum told Tighe the commission could not vote on the matter because it was not listed on the meeting agenda.
"We can bring this up under 'new business' at out next meeting," Commissioner Chuck Hood said.
Commissioners also said they have made such recommendations regarding sexual orientation to City Council in the past, but council did not seem interested in taking the action.