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Gay Ex-Miner Pushes West Virginia Anti-Discrimination Bill

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Sam Hall, an gay ex-miner who faced severe homophobic harassment at work, has already sued his former employer for the discrimination, but is taking it one step further protect other West Virginian's from the same kind of discrimination.

Today he's set to appear at a Capitol news conference with the group Fairness West Virginia to endorse two bills that would add sexual orientation to the state's existing civil-rights laws, which already cover race, gender, religion and other characteristics.

Hall began working at Mammoth Coal, a Massey Energy subsidiary, in West Virginia in 2005 and even though he never came out to his co-workers or flaunted his sexuality, the ignorant taunts, harassment, and vandalism came anyway.

"I tried to play manly man," he says. "It didn't work."

His lawsuit alleges that even authoritative figures like managers or supervisors did not stop miners from harassing him and sometimes even took part!

That is despicable and needs to change!

It is truly awful that this man had to endure this kind of hate on a daily basis just to make a living, but we are so happy he's standing up for not only himself, but anyone else whose even been bullied because of their sexual orientation.

Despite the harrassment, Hall says:

"We're told underground all the time: You look after the next guy. Well, even though these guys were doing this, I still looked after them. You're supposed to be your brother's keeper underground."

That's how it should be, but sadly, in states like West Virginia that is not always the case.

This needs to stop and it starts with U!

Companies, managers, supervisors, and co-workers need to speak up to stop this kind of harassment in the workplace.

We hope Sam Hall (pictured above on the right next to his partner) gets the compensation he deserves from the company that supported this kind of behavior, but more importantly, we hope the state of West Virginia adds sexual orientation to its civil-rights laws!

Do U support Sam Hall's push to end sexual discrimination in the work place?

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29 comments to “Gay Ex-Miner Pushes West Virginia Anti-Discrimination Bill”



  1. 1

    "States like West Virginia"? What's that suppose to mean Perez? Aren't comments like that discrimination - exactly what this story is about? Everyone who resides in WV is not a gun carrying, uneducated, tobacco using redneck. Shame on YOU for playing into a stereotype. One would think that you would have a little more respect considering…



  2. 2

    Well done! I'm glad he is taking steps to prevent discrimination and @JulesJ; you are absolutely right, saying things like "states like West Virginia" is only adding insult to injury. No need for that. We have enough hate as it is!



  3. 3

    No shit..I live in WV, I am straight and belong to Fairness WV. Stop stereotyping Mario!



  4. 4

    Thank you, JulesJ, I couldn't have said it better myself. As a resident of WV, I'm greatly offended that you, Perez, would make such general statements about an entire state, and assume that we're all gay-bashing, uneducated bigots. I think it's awful what this man had to endure and I, for one, certainly don't condone that behavior in any way. However, you, Perez, are just as guilty as those men, for you have just "bashed" an entire state. Shame on you, Perez–you owe the state of West Virginia an aoplogy.



  5. 5

    **should be "apology"…



  6. 6

    Re: JulesJ – Perez only has respect for HIS point of view, and always fails to see that he's a hypocrite.
    .
    I'm NOT for this guy's lawsuit fest. He's not in it for others, he wants money. Here's what you're missing, Perez: If you can't legislate morality (and you can't), you can't force others to accept or embrace homosexuality. I know it's your pet cause (other than making being a pedo okay so you can have a shot at Bieber). Your agenda is flawed; if it's okay to try to force people to tolerate gay, then it's just as okay for people who are against it to stay against it. Lawsuits aren't going to change a thing. Ever.



  7. 7

    stop being so biast its not just the gays that get discriminated against. people around logan county west virginia keep telling my husband that he has to cut his hair to get a job. whats the difference in a women having long hair and doing the same exact job? its not just gays they do it to they do it to anyone that looks or believes differently.



  8. 8

    I would support this guy if I were in WV.

    @La Garse: Think before you type somehting! We gays do not seek total acceptance. It's okay if you do not like what I do BUT do not discriminate me! These are two totally different things!



  9. 9

    Re: Burak Tekin – Just because you disagree with what I said doessn't mean I didn't think before typing, and that's something YOU should think about before letting YOUR fingers fly over the keyboard. I don't have anything against what you do, and I don't discriminate. I do, however, play the devil's advocate, and while YOU may not want total acceptance, people like Perez do, and use the same tactics they deplore when those tactics are used against them. And THAT is what I was talking about. Legislation and lawsuits don't solve acceptance issues. Education and healthy dialogue DOES.



  10. 10

    It's despicable that he was harassed, regardless of what state he is in, what profession he chose, and whether his sexuality was a known fact or not.

    My husband is a coal miner in Southern Illinois and he, too, is disgusted by these miners' behavior.
    Good luck, Sam Hall!!!!!!!



  11. 11

    I would like to add that 'Sam Hall' is a song by Johnny Cash. Prettey decent one.



  12. 12

    I don't think gays should be discriminated for any reason, no matter what the situation is. They are human beings as well, we all don't have to like it, or join in on their preference. I'm not gay, my ex boss was and he was a hoot to work with. My whole thing is, gay or not - keep the kissing in private. I don't wanna see a couple sloppy kissing in the streets. I know alot of people really dislike male on male display of affection, more so than girls. At least that's what I've witnessed. Gays should be able to get married, adopt - live their own life without the Gov't stepping in, who are they to decide who you should be with.



  13. 13

    "In states like West Virginia"???? That's clearly the most bigoted statement I've seen on this site. Nice way to let your true colors show, Perez.



  14. 14

    Fire in the hole



  15. 15

    he's all about the money…only cares about himself….



  16. 16

    OH MY GOD… Take your homosexual agenda to homoperez.com and leave the celebrity gossip here. I'm about to stop reading your site. You're alienating a lot of your readers!



  17. 17

    The United States goes around the world touting democracy and how good life is in the USA, then turns around and does the very things it tells other countries not to do, ignores and refuses human rights and equality for all. Hypocritical USA, eh?



  18. 18

    I live in WV, and not everyone here is a dick like that. Things like this happen everywhere, so for you to blatantly blame the entire state for homophobic behavior is unfair. I have gay friends, and I don't discriminate against anyone. I hate that Sam had to go through that, but at least he is able to push for better laws. Maybe you should educate yourself some more, Perez, before you buy into the negative stereotypes that Appalachian states always get. There are ignorant, backward people who live in these states, but really it's no different than the ignorant, backward people who live in the rest of the country.



  19. 19

    In states like West Virginia, where there is no protection whatsoever for LGBT individuals against employment discrimination, it's even more important for experiences like Sam Hall's to be brought out to light in order to effect change.

    Hopefully, enough voices will be heard in time so that employment discrimination laws are changed in states like West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska, where there is no protection for LGBT employees–as well as in other states where there is limited protection.



  20. 20

    This doesn't surprise me. I'm from Toronto and I drove through WV go to get to Florida. Very prejudice at every gas station I stopped at



  21. 21

    Before I say this I would like to point out that mining runs in my blood, my husband, my father in law, my grandfather and the in-law version of it were all coal miners. It really isn't nice to paint everyone with the same brush. Not everyone is like that. I am about 3 hours from WV and I for one think that sexual orientation is definitely something that should be included in the civil rights laws in every state.

    That being said it does suck that there are prejudices out there but everyone that works in a mine gets a bit of hazing/harassment, it doesn't matter if you are gay or straight, or what. It depends on the severity and the actual feelings behinds those individuals who take the actions that matter. In actuality being gay or acting that way makes most of the ones that are homophobes back off. Its not right but thats the way it generally goes.



  22. 22

    So glad this site has ditched the celeb gossip in favor of a totally Gay Pr & agenda site. After all thats all I ever came here for, was never eally interested in the fun aspect of it.



  23. 23

    What do you expect from stupid people who spend there lives living under rocks! He needs to find another line of work. But I do support him trying to get fair treatment. Harrassment, bullying and discrimination are wrong. Period. Good for him for getting active. But don't be surprised if not much changes in the mines. Funny, but most of those people don't bother to realize that they or their families probably know some gay men and don't even realize it. LOL!



  24. 24

    I'm a woman born and raised and continue to live here in West Virginia and raise her own little 'eers.
    I too was confused and initially annoyed by the comment "states like West Virginia" but then I thought about it. I think he meant states like WV that doesn't have sexual orientation to our civil laws, and he's right, we need them.
    I'm usually pretty prickly over negative comments, assumptions and stereotypes about my lovely state but I truly do not think that's what was going on here.
    Focus on the anti-gay instead.



  25. 25

    "stupid people spend there lives living under rocks"

    Before calling a group of people stupid you should check over your spelling. It also doesn't help promote anti-bullying and discrimination when you make ignorant remarks yourself.

    – if it weren't for those stupid people providing coal we'd be having even harder times economically right now and not to mention in other ways. I thank my stupid father for going under those rocks (aka mountains) every day and providing for his family. I'm grateful that he risked his life for us, just as my grandfathers risked theirs.



  26. 26

    Coal is a necessary EVIL..but still EVIL and I live in WV. I will never be a" friend" of fucking evil coal!



  27. 27

    I live literally 1 minute from the WV border in MD. There are a lot of racist, homophobic people around where I live but not everyone is like that and can't group one state all into that stereotype. Coal is disgusting. Yes it employs many around here but it truly is a horrible job. Coal trucks go up and down our road all day spewing there filth on the houses. Also, I'm glad that he is taking up action to end discrimination. It doesn't matter if you are gay, black, foreign, etc…we are all still human beings with feelings. I have a gay family member and I'd be PO'd if something like this happened to her.



  28. 28

    Re: Anthony Slaney – Exactly how were people at every single gas station prejudiced? I really want to know.



  29. 29

    Re: JulesJ – I think what Perez is saying is that in states like West Virginia, where there are no laws against discrimination with regards to sexual orientation, something like this can happen. He is NOT saying that this is common or expected from people from this state, just that the fact of law is that it is not a crime.