Latta, S.C., will delay the hiring of a new police chief for two months, with the Town Council hoping to put Crystal Moore, the lesbian chief fired by the city's mayor last week, back in the post.
The council voted 6-0 last night to postpone a new hire for 60 days, reports TV station WBTW of Myrtle Beach. That will give residents time to vote on changing the town's form of government to give the council more power and the mayor less, so that the council could rehire Moore. The referendum is set for June 24. The council also adopted a symbolic resolution praising Moore.
Moore, who has been with the police department for 23 years and chief for two, was abruptly fired by Mayor Earl Bullard last week after he presented her with seven reprimands, the first she had ever received. Bullard, who took office in January, has denied that Moore's firing had anything to do with her being a lesbian, but he has been recorded making antigay remarks to a Town Council member, among them "I would much rather have, and I will say this to anybody's face, somebody who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than I had somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children," and "I'm not going to let two women stand up there and hold hands and let my child be aware of it."
Moore has received strong support in the town of about 1,400, with roughly 100 residents showing up at a meeting last Thursday to protest her dismissal. She told Myrtle Beach TV station WMBF she had received nothing but praise from the mayor until he brought her the written reprimands, and that she was upset by his antigay statements.
"That's crushing," she said. "My lifestyle has nothing to do with my job. It's not a lifestyle to me. I'm in a loving, committed relationship, and that's what it is, it's my personal life -- it should have never been brought to work."
Watch the WMBF report below.