AC-T: Commissioners explain vote on sexual orientation protection
Here's an excerpt from the Asheville Citizen-Times article:
Two commissioners who voted against protecting Buncombe County employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation dismissed the idea Wednesday as unnecessary and potentially costly.
A proposed rewrite of county personnel policies lists 11 different factors, from race to veteran status, that could not be considered when making employment decisions.
The county Board of Commissioners voted down a proposal to add sexual orientation and gender identity to that list on a 3-2 vote Tuesday night.
Commissioners Carol Peterson and Bill Stanley said they see no evidence of discrimination against gays or lesbians in the county workforce, which currently numbers 1,421. ...
. ... Extending protections to gay and lesbian employees could force county government to offer health insurance to domestic partners of county employees, whether the couples ar.e same sex or opposite sex, Stanley said. ...
... A proponent of more protection said Wednesday it is a false linkage.
“The county could have amended their policy last night. It would have cost them nothing,” said the Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of Asheville-based gay rights group Campaign for Southern Equality.
Advocates for more protections said that if gays or lesbians in the county workforce do feel mistreated, they probably will not say anything because current law offers them no protection.
“The reason you don’t see (discrimination complaints) is it is perfectly legal to fire an employee because they’re gay. We have an opportunity to change that,” resident Lindsey Simerly told commissioners.