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W. Va. House Blocking Antidiscrimination Bill

W. Va. House Blocking Antidiscrimination Bill

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Advocates of stalled antidiscrimination legislation in West Virginia say the state house of delegates is the primary obstacle.

The measure, which would add protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment and housing, has passed the senate twice since 2008 but died in the house. This year, senate president Jeff Kessler did not even push for the proposal due to opposition in the house, reports Charleston'sSunday Gazette-Mail.

House speaker Rick Thompson, a candidate for governor in this year's special election, has declined to discuss the proposal and said only that there are not enough votes to pass the proposal in the house.

"After making several requests to interview Thompson about the issue, the Gazette received a statement from Thompson's office," reported the newspaper. "In the statement, Thompson said that House leaders have polled delegates many times on the issue, 'and there is not sufficient support in the House at this time to pass legislation that adds sexual orientation to the state's anti-discrimination statute.'"

On the other hand, Democrats in the house have blocked recent Republican attempts to hold a statewide referendum to ban marriage equality.

Democrats hold a 65-35 majority in the West Virginia house and a 28-6 majority in senate.

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