South Carolina Town Fires Veteran Openly Gay Police Chief
Washington – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, is calling for the reinstatement of the Latta, SC police chief, who is openly gay. According to news reports, Chief Crystal Moore was fired by Mayor Earl Bullard after he reprimanded her seven times in one day. Chief Moore says the reprimands received on Tuesday were the first she has ever received on the job after a career spanning more than 20 years. News reports indicate some Latta residents and elected officials believe Mayor Bullard had a vendetta against Moore because she is openly gay.
“By all accounts, Chief Moore has served the people of Latta, SC well for over 20 years” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “On the surface this looks a like clear-cut case of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. Without explicit federal or state employment protections, a decorated police chief is left to fend for herself.”
A local television station obtained a recorded phone call between Latta Town Councilman Jared Taylor and Mayor Earl Bullard, in which the mayor can be heard saying he "doesn't agree with some lifestyles."
Here is the full text of the telephone recording with Moore obtained by WBTW-TV:
“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.
Because that ain't the damn way it's supposed to be. You know…you got people out there -- I'm telling you buddy -- I don't agree with some of the lifestyles that I see portrayed and I don't say anything because that is the way they want to live, but I am not going to let my child be around. "
I'm not going to let two women stand up there and hold hands and let my child be aware of it. And I'm not going to see them do it with two men neither."
I'm not going to do it. Because that ain't the way the world works.
Now, all these people showering down and saying 'Oh it's a different lifestyle they can have it.' Ok, fine and dandy, but I don't have to look at it and I don't want my child around it.”
There is no explicit federal law against sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination, and lesbian, gay and bisexual people lack protection under the laws of 29 states, including South Carolina, and transgender people are not explicitly protected by the laws of 33 states, also including South Carolina. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would address discrimination in the workplace by making it illegal to fire, refuse to hire or refuse to promote an employee based on the person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Public employees, such as Chief Moore, often have recourse under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, but ENDA is necessary to expand those protections to private employees and to place all employers on notice of their obligations to their employees. ENDA, which was first introduced in 1994, passed the U.S. Senate in 2013 with a strong bipartisan vote, but has yet to see action in the House of Representatives.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.