LGBT Legislation stalled at the statehouse

    COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) -- The fight for equal treatment could be running into a roadblock in South Carolina. That issue was debated for hours at the statehouse Thursday. South Carolina is one of more than two dozen states where someone can be fired because of their sexuality. Some say the law already protects them, but there are plenty of others who say it does not.

    "My name is Dayna smith, and I am transgender."

    House lawmakers heard testimony from multiple people thursday about employment discrimination against the gay and transgenger community

    "People have said that the protection is there. It's not," said Smith.

    Others at the hearing, including Bob Lyming, said "This legislation is not needed. We have equal rights under the law."

    Last week, the issue was set for debate on the house floor, but lawmakers chose to kick it back to the house subcommittee.

    "Becaue I'm gay, they can fire me." Last year, Latta Police Chief Crystal Moore was fired from her job. She argued it was because of her sexual orientation and rallied support from the community. She was eventually re-instated.

    "That's all I ask- is to be treated fairly," said Moore.

    Members representing the Catholic Diocese of Charleston also came to testify before the House Panel. "I think this bill is very threatening to the churches, ministries and Christian businesses that wish to operate within the confines of religious beliefs on marriage and God-given gender."

    Oran Smith with Palmetto Family Council said he fears that if this bill were enacted, some of the provisions would endanger the state's Religious Freedom Act. "The idea of gender identity, in particular, is a relatively new concept, and one that concerns us on how it may actually work if it were put in our statute."

    "Don't give me a new definition of what gender is. Don't say I can walk in this room as Bob Lyming and walk out this room as Roberta Lyming. That's not right. And you know it. You know it in your hearts, gentleman," said Lyming.

    After hearing testimony for several hours, the house subcommittee adjourned without advancing the bill to the full committee. With just two weeks left in the legislative session, it's likely the debate will not be brought up again until January.

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