Keep Fairmont Safe Committee to file Supplementary Petition
FAIRMONT, WV – At 2:00 pm on Wednesday, November 8, 2017, representatives from the Keep Fairmont Safe Petition Committee will be filing a supplementary petition with over 500 additional signatures with the City Clerk. According to Kandice Nuzum, who represents the Committee, this is more than enough signatures to satisfy the requirements set forth by the City Clerk and there are still hundreds of citizens if not several thousand who are willing to sign the petition. “There’s just not enough time to knock on every door.”
The Committee originally submitted 2,505 signatures but the City Clerk’s office threw out several hundred signatures deeming them insufficient saying that they were 304 signatures shy of the 1,979 needed for a referendum. The Committee disputed the number then and still disputes the number of signatures that the City Clerk certified and still believes the number certified should’ve been much higher.
The petition challenges the Fairmont Human Rights Commission Ordinance, passed September 12, which re-instated the City’s Human Right’s Commission and added “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the protected classes. Because neither “sexual orientation” nor “gender identity” are in State Code, and are not defined in State Code, it leaves the door open to a very broad spectrum of definition possibilities.
This new ordinance removes the old penalties which are clearly defined, and replaces them with an invitation to litigate for redress or damages. The Committee feels that if this ordinance is challenged in court, the results could be detrimental. Under a literal reading of this language an employee could sue his or her employer for discrimination for any action. The Ordinance may sound good but to allow this proposed ordinance to become law could invite litigation. Law is always applied in literal and technical terms.
If the City Clerk’s office doesn’t certify the petition as sufficient, the next step in the determination as to the sufficiency of the petition shall be subject to court review. If it is deemed sufficient, the Council will be given the chance to repeal the ordinance and if not, it will be suspended from taking effect until it can be voted on by the electorate.