SC mayor fires lesbian police chief, says rather have drunks than gays protecting children

Earl Bullard, the mayor of Latta, South Carolina, is in some hot water after firing the town’s openly-lesbian police chief, Crystal Moore, apparently because she’s gay.

Latta was caught on tape disparaging gays, and suggesting that he’d rather have a drunk in charge of the safety of his children than someone who is gay.

Here’s the transcript of what Bullard was caught saying. The actual audio is below.

“I would much rather have.. and I will say this to anybody’s face… somebody who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than I had somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children.

Because that ain’t the damn way it’s supposed to be. You know.. you got people out there — I’m telling you buddy — I don’t agree with some of the lifestyles that I see portrayed and I don’t say anything because that is the way they want to live, but I am not going to let my child be around. ”

Latta. South Carolina mayor Earl Bullard.

Latta. South Carolina mayor Earl Bullard.

I’m not going to let 2 women stand up there and hold hands and let my child be aware of it. And I’m not going to see them do it with 2 men neither.”

I’m not going to do it. Because that ain’t the way the world works.”

Now, all these people showering down and saying ‘Oh it’s a different lifestyle they can have it.’ Ok, fine and dandy, but I don’t have to look at it and I don’t want my child around it.”

Mayor Latta served Chief Moore with seven reprimands right before firing her. These were the first reprimands she’d earned in 20 years on the job.  Some say that in addition to Bullard’s anti-gay animus he also had a vendetta against the chief because she investigated one of his hires:

Some residents believe the mayor firing Crystal Moore was payback. Moore investigated Mayor Bullard’s most recent hire, Parks And Rec Director Vontray Sellers.

NEWS 13 first broke the story of sellers driving a Latta town vehicle while his license was suspended back in February…Chief Moore found the mayor neglected to conduct a background check on Sellers.

It is legal under federal law to fire someone for being gay. Under state and local law, it depends on each state and municipality whether gay people are protected in employment.

Most people don’t realize that the only people covered under anti-discrimination laws are the groups of people actually covered by name.  Meaning, only those groups listed specifically under the law – race, religion, national origin, gender, etc. – are protected from discrimination.  If you’re not listed, as gays (aka sexual orientation) are not under federal law, and under many state and local laws, then you’re not protected.

And there is no such thing as the generally-held, but mistaken, concept that “the Constitution bans discrimination.”

There’s been a proposal before the Obama administration for several years now to issue an executive order to require that federal government grant recipients have employment protects in place for their gay and trans employees.  The effort hasn’t gone anywhere in part because it isn’t run very well (when’s the last time you heard any rabble-rousing on this issue?), but also in part because the administration, for whatever reason, simply doesn’t want to do it.

The administration’s public explanation for not doing an executive order is that they’d rather a pass ENDA, a federal law fixing the problem. The problem is that with a GOP-controlled House of Representatives, only the most hopefully think that there’s any chance of passing that law.

It would be interesting to see if the police department of Latta, SC has received any federal grants.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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