CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Human Rights Commission honored 26 people who contributed to promoting equal rights for all state citizens at its 12th annual Civil Rights Day on Thursday.
“These people and individuals like them have given us a firm foundation on which we continue to build a better place for our continuing generations and the protection of those who follow in their footsteps,” said Rev. Darrell Cummings, chairman of the Human Rights Commission.
In “Advancing Civil Rights Through Advocacy” — a booklet distributed on Thursday, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said the West Virginia Human Rights Act prohibits “discrimination in employment and in places of public accommodations based on race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, blindness, disability or familial status.”
The act also requires “reasonable accommodations … for pregnant women and persons with disabilities who use service animals.”
West Virginia’s non-discrimination laws do not protect gay, lesbian and transgender residents from housing and employment discrimination. A bill that would prevent cities and counties from enacting anti-discrimination laws more stringent than those of the state is pending in the House of Delegates, although a state Senate leader told The Associated Press Thursday that the Senate would not take up the bill.
Before Thursday’s ceremony at the Beni Kedem Shrine Temple in downtown Charleston, Human Rights Commission Director Marykaye Jacquet said, “We have honored about 300 people since 2003, including Joan Brown, one of the original Freedom Riders…