The Advocate July/Aug 2022
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West Virginia Lawmakers Say Uber Drivers Can Skip LGBT People


An Uber driver should be able to deny service to LGBT people, argued a West Virginia lawmaker on Friday. And he won.

Records show 65 state house members voted against requiring an anti-discrimination policy for Uber that would’ve banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Just 27 members of the House voted for the amendment. 

Support for allowing discrimination was led by delegate Tom Fast, a Republican representing Fayette who argued sexual orientation is chosen. "I believe that it is a dangerous thing to elevate as a protected status a characteristic that is a chosen characteristic," said Fast, according to the Associated Press. (Watch his speech here.)

The ride-sharing app depends on anyone being able to virtually hail a driver nearby and then catching a ride wherever they’re going. The company has sometimes had trouble getting permission to operate in some areas, but the hurdles usually have nothing to do with discrimination. 

The bill has been sent to the state senate without the anti-discrimination language for consideration.

This isn’t the first time a state has wanted to permit Uber drivers to discriminate. The same thing happened in Oklahoma last year, and Uber reiterated that it has its own anti-discrimination policy that's inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity.

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