Posts Tagged As: Huntington WV

West Virginia Law Says This Man Did Not Commit A Hate Crime

Jim Burroway

May 31st, 2016

StewartButtlerIn April, Steward Butler, a Marshall University running back, saw two men kissing in Huntington, West Virginia. He got out of the car, shouted anti-gay slurs, and punched the two men in the face.

Butler, who was expected to be one of the nation’s top running backs, was kicked off the team. A Cabell County grand jury indicted him on two felony counts of violating an individual’s civil rights, and two misdemeanor counts of battery. Cabell County prosecutor Sean Hammers acknowledged that West Virginia’s hate crime law doesn’t cover sexual orientation, but brought the civil rights charges anyway based on sex. Hammers argued that Butler wouldn’t have punched either victim if one of them had been a woman. The misdemeanor charges each allow for up to a year in jail. The civil rights violations carry a ten year prison term. But a judge didn’t buy Hammers’s argument and threw out the hate crime charge:

In a decision this month, Cabell County Circuit Court Judge Paul Farrell said West Virginia civil rights law protects people based on sex, but not sexual orientation, and ruled to drop the hate crime charges against Butler in 60 days, giving prosecutors time to appeal. Many other states specifically mention sexual orientation in listing the categories that elevate violence or threats of violence to a hate crime. West Virginia lawmakers had plenty of chances to follow suit but didn’t, Farrell wrote.

Hammers is appealing the decision to the state Supreme Court. “We now have an incident where two men were battered and their rights were violated,” he said, “and I think that even if we don’t win at the Supreme Court, we definitely put the spotlight on the statute that says, ‘hey, it should be interpreted to cover sexual orientation.'”

HateCrimeMapHate crime laws in fourteen states do not cover sexual orientation. Another six states have no hate crime laws period. One would hope that the federal hate crime law, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, could come into play here, but so far that seems unlikely:

The federal law requires that the crime “affected interstate or foreign commerce or occurred within federal special maritime and territorial jurisdiction.” So, some connection often has to be drawn across state lines — for instance, in a shooting, if a gun was manufactured in another state.

That’s more difficult when a crime is committed with someone’s fists, as in the West Virginia case..


WV Couple Denied Apartment

Jim Burroway

February 23rd, 2010

Rayetta Darby and Erika Johnson, a lesbian couple in the Huntington, WV area, were denied an apartment by their prospective landlord because they are gay. The reporters investigating this story discover that West Virginia and 29 other states don’t have any laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination, and neither does the federal Fair Housing Act.

“It’s terrible. It\’s terrible we even need such a law,” said Bill Dotson, executive director of Huntington Housing Authority. You can only prevent people from renting if they have a bad payment history or if they they’re bad neighbors or don\’t take care of their property,” Dotson said. “If a landlord refuses to rent to them for any reason other than those, it’s heavily frowned upon.” But, the fact that there\’s no law preventing such behavior in West Virginia is deeply disturbing to Darby.

Happy Thanksgiving / Musings From My Neck Of The Woods

Jim Burroway

November 22nd, 2007

Near as I can tell, Dave Muskera is living very near to where I grew up: on the Ohio River close to where Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia meet. And like me, he’s confused by what everyone means when they talk about “the gay lifestyle”:

Let me tell you what I think is a “lifestyle.” A friend of mind centers his life on football. His home is full of football memorabilia, he watches as many games in season as he can and it’s just about all he can talk about. He could surly be said to be leading a “football lifestyle”…

Let me close this by describing to you a gay man’s lifestyle. Are you ready for this?

I don’t think it’s unique. I know too many others like me (us) for that to be the case. We have a house, three bedrooms and two baths, two dogs and two cats. Occasionally we run the vac and dust a few of the things cluttering up the place. We cook meals, shop for groceries, pay bills, visit with neighbors and family, buy a new car occasionally, go to movies, rent DVDs, attend concerts, take vacations and shorter trips and rake leaves in the fall. In December we put up a tree and decorations. We make love or have sex – depending on the amount of energy left over after a week or so of work. We talk on the phone, use the computer and the Internet, go shopping, write long winded articles for the American Chronicle and sleep as needed. Is this the gay lifestyle? Well, for us, it is. Not exciting, but fulfilling.

It must be something in the Ohio River water. This “lifestyle” is something I’m thankful for. And believe it or not, I’m also thankful for having grown up where I did, difficulties and all.

What about you? What are you thankful for this year?


Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.