Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Discrimination against gay Asheville couple shows need for anti-discrimination laws

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Help EqualityNC build support for laws that will ensure that workers are free to work without fear of discrimination in North Carolina by signing the Petition for Fair Employment
According to an action alert from EqualityNC and an article from the Asheville Citizen-Times, a lesbian couple in Asheville, NC, claims that they lost their job after being married in Massachusetts in October 2005 and running an annoucnement about the marriagei n the Citizen-Times in November. According to the Citizen-Times article:
Owners of an Asheville photography business say they lost work with a ski resort after the announcement of their gay marriage, an example, they say, of workplace discrimination. Laurel Scherer and Virginia Balfour say that Wolf Laurel Ski Area in Madison County ended an oral agreement with Scherer’s photography business, All Terrain Images, to take picture of skiers because the couple got married in Massachusetts in October and ran a wedding announcement in the Citizen-Times on Nov. 6. Scherer says the ski area owners told her and Balfour that their sexual orientation and marriage was part of the reason their agreement was terminated. Scherer said the Wolf Laurel work, which she had done the past two seasons, accounted for about $20,000 in income for her company, nearly half of her annual gross. Wolf Laurel Ski Area owner Orville English declined to comment on the allegations Tuesday, while co-owner Rick Bussey said, “It’s not wise for us to get in a verbal battle.” He described Wolf Laurel as a family-oriented resort. “As a private business, we’ve elected to let them say what they’re going to say, and we have no comment,” Bussey said. In North Carolina — and much of the United States — an employer can fire a worker because the person is gay.
EqualityNC LogoAfter hearing about this instance of discrimination, North Carolina's statewide LGBT rights and awareness group, EqualityNC, issued an action alert on the issue. They are circulating a petition (which can also be found online at http://eqfed.org/ct/qp111111ZzbO/. The petition will urge the North Carolina State Legislature to create anti-discrimination laws which include sexual orientation. According to the action alert from EqualityNC:
Employment Discrimination takes many forms. Usually, an employee is fired--or not hired--because an employer disapproves of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. A recent incident in Western North Carolina shows yet another way a homophobic business can hurt LGBT workers... Laurel's story is yet another reminder that in North Carolina, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers have no protection from discrimination under state or federal law. Help us build support for laws that will ensure that workers are free to work without fear of discrimination in North Carolina by signing our Petition for Fair Employment: http://eqfed.org/ct/qp111111ZzbO/.
For more information about EqualityNC visit www.equalitync.org and don't forget to sign the petition. No one should have to fear losing thier job just because of who they are or who they love. Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,