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Wheeling Residents Speak Out Against LGBT Proposal

Mayor says no protections exist in W.Va.

Photo by Scott McCloskey Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott, right, speaks Tuesday as City Manager Robert Herron listens.

WHEELING — Resident Lynnette Chacalos approached Wheeling City Council on Tuesday to voice concerns over possible legislation that would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender citizens.

Chacalos said society is already being “choked to death by redundant” regulations, and the LGBT community is already well protected. She responded to a resolution recently passed by the Wheeling Human Rights Commission, which asks council to consider some sort of protection ordinance, which would likely establish worker and renters’ rights for people who fall under the LGBT banner.

Chacalos said this matter was not about equal protection, but special privileges, and said such legislation will inevitably lead to a matter on transgender bathroom use.

“As a Christian and as a conservative,  I have been raised to be obedient. I am obedient to the laws of this country, even though there are some that I do not agree with,” Chacalos said. “But more importantly, for me as a Christian, I must be obedient to God’s laws first and foremost.”

She further cited the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as existing measures which already protect the LGBT community.

Mayor Glenn Elliott said multiple times that no LGBT ordinance yet exists, and if it ever does it, will strictly encompass standard protections to prevent anyone from being fired or refused housing because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Council will host a public work session with the human rights commission at noon Sept. 1 to discuss this potential ordinance.

After the meeting, Elliott said it is “factually untrue” to claim the LGBT community is already protected in the state of West Virginia.

“Right now, in the city of Wheeling, it is perfectly legal for someone to fire you or refuse to grant you housing by virtue of the fact that you’re gay,” Elliott said.

Five other residents shared similar sentiments to those Chacalos expressed.

City resident David Wright spoke of alleged research from a scientist at Johns Hopkins University that suggests transgender citizens suffer a “mental disability,” and said enacting any such ordinance would only encourage this behavior.

Wright said President Barack Obama and the national news media are responsible for reinterpreting this fact, to make identity politics an election issue.

Vice Mayor Chad Thalman said the city has not discussed any possible measures to tackle the subject of transgender bathroom use. He said this proposed measure would be about extending equal rights to all citizens, similar to steps taken in the 1960s during the civil rights movement.

Resident Derrick Coleman said as an African-American, he finds it offensive to hear the civil rights movement compared to the push for a protected LGBT class. He, too, is concerned with potential legislation at the municipal level.

“No one is enslaving them, or making them sit at the back of the bus,” Coleman said.

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