West Virginia Family Legislative Update 2000

by Kevin McCoy, President, West Virginia Family Foundation

West Virginia's Senate did this year what no statewide elected body had done before; it passed pro-homosexual legislation. On March 3, 2000 a total of 19 senators voted to pass SB 422, adding sexual orientation and disability to the hate crime statute.

The homosexual lobby ardently supports hate crime legislation, which is more aptly named the SPECIAL PRIVILEGES FOR HOMOSEXUALS bill. In this past legislative session, the WV Lesbian and Gay Coalition, WV Human Rights Commission, WV Attorney General's office and other agencies worked intensely for passage of SB 422. This radical pro-homosexual bill, if passed, would have made it a felony criminal offense with penalties of up to 10 years in prison and $5,000 in fines for a heterosexual convicted of "interfering with, harassing, oppressing, or intimidating a homosexual". On the other hand, the same offense against a heterosexual would remain a simple misdemeanor with minuscule jail time and fines. The homosexuals' agenda is clear. By adding "sexual orientation" as a "protected class" to West Virginia's hate crime laws, homosexuals aim to silence Christian opposition to the homosexual lifestyle.

The State Senate Roll Call Vote showed the following results: For hate crime legislation (special privileges for homosexuals): Homer Ball (D), Mercer; Truman Chafin (D), Mingo; Oshel Craigo (D), Putnam; Larry Edgell (D), Wetzel; Walt Helmick (D), Pocahontas; Jon Blair Hunter (D), Monongalia; Lloyd Jackson, II (D), Lincoln; Jeffrey Kessler (D), Marshall; Brooks McCabe (D), Kanawha; John Mitchell, Jr. (D), Kanawha; Michael Oliverio, II (D), Monongalia; Roman Prezioso, Jr. (D), Marion; Marie Redd (D), Cabell; Mike Ross (D), Randolph; Herb Snyder (D), Jefferson; John Unger, II (D), Berkeley; Martha Walker (D), Kanawha; William Wooton (D), Raleigh; Earl Ray Tomblin (D), Logan.

State Senators voting against hate crime protections were Leonard Anderson (D), Summers; Billy Wayne Bailey, Jr. (D), Wyoming; Donna Boley (R), Pleasants; Edwin Bowman (D), Hancock; James Dawson (D), Clay; Frank Deem (R), Wood; Robert Ditmar (D), Jackson; John Pat Fanning (D), McDowell; Shirley Love (D), Fayette; Andy McKenzie (R), Ohio; Joseph Minard (D), Harrison; Sarah Minear (R), Tucker; Robert Plymale (D), Wayne; William Sharpe, Jr. (D), Lewis; Vic Sprouse (R), Kanawha.

On the House side, the hate crime bill never made it out of committee to the floor for a vote. In the last days of the session, the bill came up for a Judiciary Committee vote that would have moved it toward passage in the House. With 22 of 25 committee members present, the vote was split evenly down the middle, 11 to 11. Without a majority of votes behind it, the bill "died" in committee. This is a CLEAR WARNING to the Christian community that unless there is involvement in the political process, the opposition intends to make criminals out of anyone who opposes their ungodly lifestyle. And to make matters worse part of this effort is being funded partly with state tax dollars through groups like the WV Human Rights Commission. A House of Delegates Judiciary Committee Roll Call Vote shows that the following voted for hate crime protections (for special privileges for homosexuals): Jon Amores (D), Kanawha; Mark Hunt (D), Kanawha; Tai Hutchins (D), Ohio; Arley Johnson (D), Cabell; Virginia Mahan (D), Summers; Larry Rowe (D), Kanawha; Robert Schadler (R), Mineral; Rick Staton (D), Wyoming; Joe Smith (D), Kanawha; Randy White (D), Webster; Mark Wills (D), Mercer.

House of Delegates members who voted against hate crime protections were Shelley Moore Capito (R), Kanawha; Tom Coleman (D), Taylor; Sammy Dalton (D), Lincoln; Larry Faircloth (R), Berkeley; Roy Givens (D), Brooke; Larry Linch (D), Harrison; Dale Riggs (R), Upshur; Jody Smirl (R), Cabell; William Stemple (D), Calhoun; Charles "Rusty" Webb (R), Kanawha; Gil White (R), Ohio.

Those absent during the vote were Joe Ferrell (D), Logan; Oscar Hines (D), Roane; Sharon Spencer (D), Kanawha. DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE

Since 1997, the "Defense of Marriage" bill has been introduced to ban the recognition of same- sex marriages performed in other states. Recognition of same-sex marriage has long been a part of the homosexual agenda despite their denial. This year, however, Governor Cecil Underwood introduced this bill as part of his legislative package, and with the support of a handful of dedicated Christian men and women, the state of West Virginia passed this bill into law on March 3, 2000. All 34 senators voted in favor of SB 146; the bill later passed the House and was signed into law by the Governor.

Pro-homosexual delegates voting against the same-sex marriage ban were Barbara Fleischauer (D), Monongalia County; Susan Hubbard (D), Cabell County; Charlene Marshall (D), Monongalia County.