Senator Carmichael releases statement on WV Fairness Act

UPDATE: Senate President Mitch Carmichael releases statement on West Virginia Fairness Act surrounding LGBTQ legislation.

Having the privilege of serving the citizens of West Virginia as Senate President for three years, and more importantly, as a lifelong Christian serving the Lord, I have sought to develop and cultivate a sincere respect and love of all humankind. I truly desire that every individual – regardless of circumstances – be safe, successful, and productive, with the freedom to pursue their own happiness. I want to honor and defend the right of every individual to live their best life in West Virginia. Wherever I encounter instances that diminish the God-given value of any person, I am inspired to make the necessary changes that enable people to pursue the liberty and freedom of a fulfilling life. Any form of discrimination or prejudice against a child of God is a limiting factor upon the achievements of a nation, state, community, and individual.

From the beginning of the discussion on the specific proposal by Fairness West Virginia, I have been clear in my stance against any kind of discrimination. Hate has no place in West Virginia.

Well-meaning people on both sides of this issue have been pushing for quick decisions to either advance or to discard the proposal by Fairness West Virginia to create the West Virginia Fairness Act. Yet, even a cursory review of the proposed legislation will reveal that it contains many complicated and complex elements that are deserving of thoughtful analysis. My effort as Senate President is directed toward respectfully listening and seeking to better understand the perspectives of each side on the issue.

As the President of the State Senate, my primary role is to lead the upper chamber and most deliberative body of the Legislature. Often, this involves presiding over the debate of topics that are controversial and emotional. I do not consider it my role to prevent the other 33 members of this body from vigorously hashing out any issue, sensitive or not. Only through open discussion and careful consideration can we effectively do our jobs.

Lately, I have been disappointed by both the advocates and the opponents of the West Virginia Fairness Act for rushing to publish press releases about their perception of my position on the bill. Frankly, my individual position on any bill before the Senate should be addressed by me, and by no other group. I have been in a listening and learning mode concerning this bill. Based on my review to this point, my personal opinion is the specific language of the proposed West Virginia Fairness Act does not have my individual support. In my view, this legislation must do more to allay the justifiable fears of good Christian people regarding the usurpation of their religious liberties. We must always protect our religious freedoms and the worth of every person. As with any proposal, the Senate will give thoughtful consideration to this concept.

I look forward to working through the rest of the session with the Senate to continue to move West Virginia forward.

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Senator Mitch Carmichael who once said he supports the Fairness Act, which prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ people, has changed his stance.

Pastors met with Carmichael who wanted him to oppose the bill and to not let it come up for a vote.  After a third meeting was held on January 6, 2020, Carmichael told the group of pastors that he would not let

At the conclusion of the third meeting, Senator Carmichael confirmed to the pastors and church members that, “I am against this legislation and will not run it in the senate.”

Pastor Burges went on to say, “We disagree with the other group of clergy who support the LGBTQ agenda and was at the Capitol on 01/06/2020 at the invitation of Fairness West Virginia.

Advocates for the bill say this is not over and they will continue to fight for equality for all.

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December 3, 2019:

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Fairness West Virginia held round table discussion with Senate President Mitch Carmichael Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019.

The discussion focused on the need to bring the Fairness Act up for a vote to ensure LGBTQ people can’t be discriminated against in the area of employment, housing or public accommodations. The Fairness Act would finally outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The legislation will ensure all LGBTQ people in West Virginia are safe from discrimination and able to live, work and raise their families. West Virginia is one of 28 states that currently has no statewide non-discrimination law.

“The message of human decency, the message of doing what is right and we know that will cause some uncomfortable conversations,” said Delegate Danielle Walker.

The fairness act has been introduced for many years in the state legislator but has yet been passed into law. local activist, Danielle Stewart says 2020 is the year.

“I feel hopeful, I feel positive. I mean, I think that West Virginia is at a turning point. West Virginia is in a position where it wants to take leadership in a lot of areas. Non-discrimination is one of those areas,”said local activist, Danielle Steward.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael supports the non-discrimination bill, but can’t guarantee that it will pass. If West Virginia passes it in 2020, it will become the 23rd state to outlaw this type of discrimination.

Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com