Civil Unions Bill Introduced In West Virginia

Jim Burroway

February 17th, 2012

Talk about a cry in the wilderness:

Del. John Doyle says he introduced the bill Thursday to start a conversation about family equality. The Jefferson County Democrat says that gay and lesbian couples should have the same safety net to deal with the death of a parent or the loss of a job as married couples.

Fairness WV, which advocates on behalf of the gay, lesbian and transgender community, says this is the first time a civil union bill has been introduced in the West Virginia Legislature.

I hope you’ll allow me to digress for a moment. I grew up in Portsmouth, Ohio. All three of our television stations came from West Virginia, along with one of the two most popular radio stations (the other was from across the Big Sandy river from Huntington, WV, in Ashland, KY). If we wanted to go to a concert or go shopping or do anything remotely big city-ish, we went to Huntington, about 45 miles away. It was closer and easier to get to than the next option, Columbus, which was 90 miles away. Growing up in the 1970s, contemporary Appalachian culture had far more relevance in our lives than anything that one might assume from the accidental fact that we lived on the north bank of the Ohio river, although I can safely say that neither I nor any of my friends were really much aware of it at the time.

And so having said that, I will now add this: West Virginia, I can confidently predict, will beat Alabama and Mississippi in providing some sort of partnership recognition, although I suspect they probably won’t beat them by much. Especially if the status quo remains unchallenged. Good for Doyle and Fairness WV for challenging the status quo.

Sam

February 17th, 2012

I’m willing to believe that West Virginia will be able to get ahead in more states than just Mississippi and Alabama. I’d go as far as that state beating Georgia, Tennessee, and probably South Carolina.

Chuck Anziulewicz

February 17th, 2012

DEAR JIM BURROWAY:

Believe it or not, here in the “wilderness” of West Virginia there is an active and thriving LGBT community, of which I have been an active part for over 20 years. And you may also be interested to know that we have so far been able to help stave off efforts to enact an anti-Gay marriage amendment to West Virginia’s state constitution. AND not too long ago the state board of education approved an anti-bullying measure that protects LGBT young people. AND this coming November it seems quite likely that Stephen Skinner (of http://www.fairnesswv.org) will become the first openly-Gay member of our Legislature.

Where do I come from? I grew up in the Washington DC area. My family moved to West Virginia when I had just started 10th grade, and YES, it was quite a culture shock. But I have come to dearly love this state, so forgive me if I seem a tad defensive.

Mark F.

February 17th, 2012

The West Virginia Legislature is controlled by Democrats , but many are not pro-gay.

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